On this day, 151 years ago Union general Gordon Granger proclaimed General Order Number 3 in Galveston; I quote in part:
“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 labor.”
Apart from historical context, one cannot appreciate the magnitude of slave labor in our state.
The first census ever was performed in 1850. At that time, according to the TSHA, “the Texas population comprised 154,034 whites, 397 free Negroes, and 58,161 slaves.”
By 1860 the Texas population grew explosively up until the time of the Civil War when growth came to a standstill. The last official U.S. census before the war was done in 1860. By then, our state’s population was 604,215 persons.
That historical General Order liberated approximately 250,000 slaves or about 41% of the total population.
Liberation of slaves was not accomplished overnight but happened gradually over several months as plantation owners decided to inform African-Americans enslaved on their farms.
As freedmen took stock of their situations, they prepared to participate in government at all levels. Naturally, they voted Republican.
Freedmen voted Republican for a number of reasons. First and foremost, Democrats would not allow them to vote in the party of the plantation owners. Second, it was a natural thing to do because it was the leader of the Republican Party that freed therm.
Democrats energetically strived to prevent African-Americans from voting and to discourage political activities. Covered in white sheets, wearing pointed hats, Democrats organized as the Ku Klux Klan, the KKK in order to retain power in the state. Over time, the KKK murdered thousands. Their targets were not blacks per se, but REPUBLICANS, during the 1865 to 1877 phase of the Klan. The Tuskeegee Institute estimates 1,500 total murders, 1,200 blacks, and 300 whites. The second phase was from 1915 to 1944 during which time 416 persons were lynched, all black except one Jew. Among those murdered were WW1 returning veterans.
As of 2014, there were 18 known KKK organizations active in our state of Texas [Ref: http://ow.ly/lHry301pwcx ]
Can’t happen in our time? Yes, it can. In fact, the lynch mobs have swapped roles. Blacks now kill more blacks than the sum of all Klan lynchings.
There can be no political solution. Only God can change the hearts of sinful men. Martin Luther King, Jr. knew this. Our Bill of Rights and our Declaration of Independence declare all men are created equal, that the duty of government is to secure our God-given rights.
As it is written [1 Timothy 2:1-3] we must “pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Savior”.
God bless America. God bless Texas