Even so it would not be until June of 1865, two months after the war's end that the enslaved in Texas would learn about the EP. The date is what gave rise to the freedom festival's name, Juneteenth.
"They may send the flower of their young men down South to die. They may send them one year, two years, three years, till they are tired of sending, or till they use up all the young men. All no use! God’s ahead of Master Lincoln. God won’t let master Lincoln beat the South till he does the right thing. Master Lincoln, he’s a great man and I am a poor Negro; but the Negro can master Lincoln how to save money and the young men. He can do it by setting the negroes free."
"We were waiting and listening as for a bolt from the sky ... we were watching ... by the dim light of the stars for the dawn of a new day ... we were longing for the answer to the agonizing prayers of centuries."
"It is with wonder that we anticipate this 'day of days,' "the glorious morning of liberty about to dawn upon us."
Charlotte Forten Grimke
"New Year's Day, Emancipation Day, was a glorious one to us. General Saxton and Colonel Higginson had invited us to visit the camp of the First Regiment of South Carolina Volunteers on that day, 'the greatest day in the nation's history.'
The ceremony in honor of Emancipation took place in the beautiful grove of live-oaks adjoining the camp.
I wish it were possible to describe fitly the scene which met our eyes. There were the black soldiers in their blue coats and scarlet pantaloons;--- men, women, and children, of every complexion.
The exercises commenced with a prayer by the chaplain of the regiment. President Lincoln's Proclamation of Emancipation was then read,
In the evening there was the softest, loveliest moonlight. We were very unwilling to go home because we knew that the soldiers were to have grand shouts and a general jubilee that night.
It was a fitting close to such a day. Our hearts were filled with an exceeding great gladness; for although the government had left much undone, we knew that Freedom was surely born in our land that day. It seemed too glorious a good to realize, this beginning of the great work we had so longed for and prayed for.
It was a sight never to be forgotten, that crowd of happy black faces from which the shadow of Slavery had forever passed. 'Forever free! forever free!'—those magical words in the President's Proclamation were constantly singing themselves in my soul."
"In the hurry and excitement of the moment, it is difficult to grasp the full and complete significance of President Lincoln’s proclamation. The change in attitude of the Government is vast and startling.
There are certain great national acts, which by their relation to universal principles, properly belong to the whole human family, and Abraham Lincoln’s Proclamation of the 1 st of January, 1863, is one of these acts. Henceforth shall that day take rank with the Fourth of July. ... It is worthy celebration of the first step on the part of the nation in its departure from the thraldom of the ages."
"Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world."