Juneteenth celebrated at Mount Vernon’s St. Paul’s Church

Visitors took part in discussions, listened to Civil War-era songs and walked through the historic cemetery.

Bob Doda

Jun 19, 2023, 7:16 PM

Updated 345 days ago

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People across the Hudson Valley are gathering to celebrate Juneteenth, including at St. Paul’s Church in Mount Vernon.
The national historic site hosted a variety of programs this morning that honored the Juneteenth proclamation. Visitors took part in discussions, listened to Civil War-era songs and walked through the historic cemetery.
"We have a number of freed slaves here that are buried at our cemetery,” said Park Ranger Michael Callahan. “…We have two African-American soldiers buried here who were in Texas in June of 1865 when General Order No. 3 was read."
The soldiers were honored with a wreath-laying ceremony at their gravesite.
Juneteenth celebrations began with enslaved people in Galveston, Texas. Although President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation freed the slaves in 1863, it could not be enforced in many places in the South until the Civil War ended in 1865. Even then, some white people who had profited from their unpaid labor were reluctant to share the news.
News that the war had ended and that enslaved people were free finally reached Galveston when Union Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger and his troops arrived in the Gulf Coast city on June 19, 1865, more than two months after Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant in Virginia.
Granger delivered General Order No. 3, which said: “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor.”
AP Wire Services contributed to this report.


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