On January 1, 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation put an end to slavery in the United States, but it took time for the news to advance. The state of Texas, for example, did not know anything about it until two years later, when Union General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston on June 19, 1865–after the War–and announced the news to the enslaved people there.
According to History.com, “The day instantly became an important one to the African American citizens of Texas, who held annual celebrations and even made pilgrimages to Galveston each Juneteenth.”
In no time, festivities proliferated throughout the nation; now, forty-seven states and the District of Columbia recognize Juneteenth as a holiday, but Texas was the first to decree annual observance of June 19th in 1979.
For more information about Juneteenth, the Grateful American Book Prize recommends books such as The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin.
Benjamin Franklin, the Continental Congress’s envoy to France, was not enthusiastic about having 19-year-old Marquis de Lafayette volunteer his military expertise to the colonial revolutionary forces two years into the War. Nevertheless, Lafayette, whose full name was Marie-Joseph Paul Roch Yves Gilbert du Motier, made the difficult journey, and arrived in South Carolina on June 13, 1777. He hoped to be General George Washington’s second in command. Though his youth might have been an issue when he made his case to Congress, the Marquis’ offer of service was accepted by Washington, and he was commissioned as a Major-General.
Lafayette served with distinction in numerous battles, but in February 1778 when France and the American Revolutionary forces signed a formal treaty of alliance, it set off a declaration of war between France and Britain. By the time Lafayette returned to France, he had proven himself in battle, his loyalty to the American cause, and Benjamin Franklin admitted the Marquis had demonstrated his worth.
The Grateful American Book Prize recommends is Sarah Vowell’s Lafayette in the Somewhat United States.
“Henry Flipper did all his country asked him to do.” President Bill Clinton said of Henry Ossian Flipper, the first African American graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Life was not easy for him. He was born into slavery in Thomasville, Georgia, in 1856; after he completed his studies on June 14, 1877, he wrote his autobiography, which revealed the cruel treatment he had received at West Point.
According to History.com, Flipper recalled how “he was socially ostracized by white peers and professors.”
After commencement, Flipper served as a second lieutenant in the African American 10th Cavalry Regiment, known as the Buffalo Soldiers of Fort Sill, Oklahoma; there, he distinguished himself with his engineering prowess; as a matter of fact, a drainage system designed by him is listed as a National Historic Landmark. It’s known as “Flipper’s Ditch.”
His career was halted when he was brought up on charges of stealing government money, and conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman. A court martial acknowledged his innocence of the embezzlement charge but found him guilty of the conduct accusations for which he was dishonorably discharged. Although Flipper had a “distinguished career” as a civilian engineer, he never reconciled the humiliating event.
The Army overturned his “dishonorable” status in 1976—thirty-six years after his death, and in 1999, President Clinton granted Flipper a full posthumous pardon.
The Grateful American Book Prize recommends Henry Ossian Flipper’s West Point autobiography, The Colored Cadet at West Point and Jane Eppinga’s Henry Ossian Flipper: West Point’s First Black Graduate.
Essentials for your tackle box
Recreational fishing is enjoyed by millions of people. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reported that there was an 8 percent increase in anglers between 2011 and 2017. Expenditures by anglers nationwide rose 2 percent during the same time, from $45 billion to $46.1 billion.
As more people stay closer to home, they’re eager to engage in hobbies that are fun and accessible but still promote social distancing. Fishing checks each of those boxes. Prospective anglers who are eager to get into saltwater or freshwater fishing should know that the right gear is essential. For fishing enthusiasts, that gear starts with a rod and reel. Afterward, it is important to fill a tackle box with other essentials.
· Extra fishing line: Lines get snagged, torn or snapped when reeling in a great catch, so extra fishing line is essential.
· Extra hooks: The traditional J-hook can snag many types of fish, but some anglers like a French hook. No matter which hook you prefer, make sure you have a variety of sizes on hand so you can switch if need be.
· A set of fishing pliers: Purchase pliers specifically made for fishing. Most come in aluminum so they will not corrode due to the elements. Also, if you’re using braided fishing line, be sure the pliers have a cutter made for cutting braid.
· Bobbers in various sizes: Bobbers, also called floaters, help anglers know when a fish is biting. Round clip-on bobbers are popular and widely available. Slip bobbers will slide up and down the line, enabling anglers to get the hook into deeper water.
· Sinkers: The yin to the bobber’s yang, sinkers are weights that help weigh down a worm or artificial lure to reach the right level to attract fish.
· Fishing regulations/ruler: A variety of rules govern when and where you can fish. Also, you’ll need to know which size fish are keepers and which need to be tossed back. Keep a regulation ruler in the tackle box to avoid fines.
· Pocket knife: Keep a sharp knife for cutting lines and bait. Reserve a special filet knife for cleaning fish.
· Selection of lures: Research which fish you’re angling for and then purchase a variety of appropriate lures. Some lures will attract a wide array of fish.
· Stringer: A stringer is a device that is used to hold several caught fish through their gills. It anchors to land and the other end with the fish on it is placed in the water to keep the fish alive until you’re ready to pack up and go. It’s a good alternative to a cooler or bucket filled with water.
· Fishing license: Many conservation or fish and wildlife departments require a license for fishing for anglers of a certain age. Be sure to have it on hand or you may be susceptible to fines or other penalties.
A tackle box with the right gear can help novice fishing enthusiasts get off on the right foot.