Native American Votes

Native American Votes

June 19–‘Juneteenth’–marks the anniversary date of the June 19, 1865,announcement of General Order No. 3 by Union Army General Gordon Granger, proclaiming freedom from slavery in Texas. But when we think of important dates in June, we can also remember that on June 2, 1924, the Snyder Act was signed into law, grantingfull citizenship rights to Native Americans, many of whom had fought in World War I.  And even then, Native Americans were not always allowed to vote until the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Locally, when we think of Native Americans, remember that the Sioux author and activist Charles Eastman lived in Amherst for many years, starting in 1903. And the Amherst Historical Society is fortunate to have the video of a lecture by Dr Christine DeLucia about her book Memory Lands, describing the Native Americans’ ongoing struggle for recognition.

Stay well,
George Naughton

The Juneteenth Holiday

The Juneteenth Holiday

by Dr. Amilcar Shabazz, UMass/Amherst

VIEW VIDEO

“I would like to speak on the history of the Memorial Tablets that commemorated the service and sacrifice of men from Amherst who served as soldiers and sailors in the Civil War. These were the people who paid the ultimate price to make possible Juneteenth (the end of chattel enslavement of people of African descent in the U.S.)! Of course, I would connect the history of Juneteenth to the struggle to remember the Civil War as a common fight for freedom and to form a ‘more perfect union.’”

The lecture weaves the lives of men like Josiah Hasbrook Jr. in Amherst with individuals like Frederick Douglass who was the keynote speaker at the 31st anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation on September 24, 1894, in Alexandria, Va. to John Mercer Langston who delivered keynote speeches there in 1895 and 1897. Alexandria like Amherst has in recent decades settled on celebrating Juneteenth as the date to commemorate the ending of chattel slavery. I will answer why Juneteenth has become that special date across the country interweaving the remembrance of our veterans and the memory of the war and black liberation with the struggle right here, right now with our Memorial Tablets.