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Looking for where to celebrate Juneteenth in Amarillo? Look no further than The Drunken Oyster!

Rodeos, fishing, barbecue, prayer services and baseball are just a few of the typical Juneteenth activities you may witness throughout Texas these days. Juneteenth parties in Amarillo will pop up all over and afford all kinds of opportunities for some fun Amarillo nightlife. At The Oyster, we celebrate Juneteenth with the best Cajun food in Amarillo, great drinks, awesome live music and rejoicing in our bonds of brother and sisterhood. I mean, come on: Cajun food?! Live music Amarillo?! What better way to have a Juneteenth Jubilee in Amarillo?!

Juneteenth celebrations are important, but it’s also important to know why we are celebrating. Juneteenth is the annual holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. It is celebrated every June 19th, but some people may still be unaware of why this date is significant or why Juneteenth is so closely associated with Texas. The story starts with the election of Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican President. When Lincoln won Presidential election in 1860, he pledged to keep slavery out of the territories which caused seven slave states in the deep South to secede from the Union and form a new nation, the Confederate States of America. Eventually, the Confederate States of America, would grow to a collection of eleven southern states including Texas.

Over the course of the next four years, tension between the United States of America and the Confederate States of America, primarily as a result of the long-standing disagreement over the institution of slavery, would escalate into what became the American Civil War. Fighting reached a fever pitch after President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, as the nation approached its third year of bloody civil war. The proclamation declared “that all persons held as slaves” within the rebellious states “are, and henceforward shall be, free.”

After the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863, the Civil War continued to rage on. Intense combat of the war left between 620,000 and 750,000 soldiers dead, along with an undetermined number of civilians. The war officially ended on April 9, 1865 when general Robert E. Lee surrendered the last major Confederate army to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse, Virginia; however, Lee’s was just one Confederate Army to fall. It would take many months for the remainder of the southern states to surrender, rejoin the Union and agree to the ratification of the 13th Amendment, which was passed by the US Senate nearly a year before and that banned slavery. The last battle Civil War wasn’t fought until May 13, 1865. The battle took at Palmito Ranch, Texas and even though slavery in the United States was, technically, abolished in 1863, it wasn’t until June 19, 1865, that enslaved Americans in Texas were told by Union Army general Gordon Granger that they were, in fact, free.

Juneteenth is a day on which honor and respect is paid for the sufferings of slavery. It is a day on which we acknowledge the evils of slavery and its aftermath. We think about that moment in time when the enslaved in Galveston, Texas received word of their freedom.  We imagine the depth of their emotions, their jubilant dance and their fear of what the unknown future would present to them. We celebrate in honor of the past and to acknowledge the work that still remains.

On this day let’s celebrate freedom. Let’s celebrate Juneteenth in Amarillo together.

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