This week’s Juneteenth festivities have included plenty of the region’s favorite foods. Some of these dishes have played a part in the celebrations ever since the first Emancipation Day parties held on June 19, 1866, commemorating the anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation’s arrival in Texas in 1865.
On June 19, 1865, the Union Army’s Gen. Gordon Granger stood on the steps of Ashton Villa, then — as now — one of Galveston’s finest structures gracing Broadway, and read aloud General Order No. 3: “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 laborer.”