Publisher’s Perspective

Chad Koenen

There is perhaps no more important phrase in a dad’s arsenal than the phrase “go ask your mother.” Perfecting the delivery of the phrase can take a few years, but when you do, these four words can be the difference between a lengthy “discussion” with a child or staying arms length away from impending doom.

You want to watch the movie “Chuckie” right before bed (that movie still freaks me out to this day I have no idea what I was thinking watching that as a child)—go ask your mother. 

Did you say you want to go jump off a trampoline barefoot into a bunch of thistles—well go ask your mother. 

What was that about eating an entire jug of ice cream for breakfast? Go ask your mother. 

You don’t understand Juneteenth and why everything is suddenly closed on Monday? Go ask your mother. 

You see folks, it’s just that easy to pass on a loaded question to someone else. Simply wash your hands of the problem and you can get back to the Minnesota Twins game a bit sooner. 

Except those four magic words didn’t quite work like they were supposed to this time. Wouldn’t you know, it seems like many of us in central Minnesota, had never heard of this day before a few weeks ago. Or at the very least, we heard of the day, but didn’t know its full meaning. 

In a nutshell, Juneteenth is celebrated on the anniversary of the order by Major General Gordon Granger proclaiming freedom for enslaved people in Texas on June 19, 1865. This was 2 1/2 years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued by Abraham Lincoln (you thought news traveled slow these days).

The Emancipation Proclamation promised the freedom to enslaved people in all of the rebellious parts of the Southern states of the Confederacy, including Texas. However, enforcement of the proclamation relied on the advance of Union soldiers. Texas was the most remote state of the Confederacy at the time and saw an expansion of slavery because the presence of the Union troops was low as the Civil War ended. As a result, enforcement of the Emancipation Proclamation had been slow and inconsistent in Texas prior to the June 19, 1865 order. 

The holiday originated in Galveston, Texas and has been observed annually in various parts of the United States to mark the end of slavery in the United States. 

In 2021 President Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law. So now the day is being celebrated as a national holiday so things like banks, post offices and state/federal offices are not open. 

So there you have it, a history of Juneteenth in a matter of a few inches in the newspaper—some 160 years after the day officially took place.