Gen. Gordon Granger (Library of Congress/file)
Good morning, it’s Wednesday, June 19, the 170th day of 2013. There are 195 days left in the year. We’ll start the day with some clouds and temperatures in the lower 70s, but by this afternoon, temperatures should be in the mid-90s under a mostly sunny sky. There’s a slight chance of a stray shower or thunderstorm this afternoon. Temperatures overnight should be in the lower 70s.
On June 19, 1865—148 years ago today--Gen. Gordon Granger landed at Galveston and issued a proclamation that declared slaves in Texas to be free three years after Congress passed and President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.
Granger’s message said, "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. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere."
Large celebrations began the next year and eventually spread to neighboring states. Interest declined during World War II and again during the 1950s and 1960s, but in the 1970s observances were revived in some communities. Since 1980, June 19 has been observed as Emancipation Day in Texas, which is a state partial-staffing holiday.
Today's Highlight in Local History:
On June 19, 1981, three teenagers drowned in Lake Mexia as two deputies and a probation officer tried to transport them across the lake from Comanche Crossing in a 14-foot aluminum boat. The three were at a Juneteenth celebration on the lake when they were arrested after a search of their car turned up marijuana and a syringe. The officers claimed that handcuffs were removed from the three before they were put in the boat, but only two of the teens could swim. A Dallas County jury later acquitted the three officers, who were charged with misdemeanor negligent homicide, but the teens’ families won a $15 million settlement from Limestone County in 1983.
On June 19, 2003, the mother and stepfather of Baylor basketball player Patrick Dennehy filed a missing persons report with Waco police. Dennehy was later found dead.
Today's Highlight in History:
On June 19, 1953, Julius Rosenberg, 35, and his wife, Ethel, 37, convicted of conspiring to pass U.S. atomic secrets to the Soviet Union, were executed at Sing Sing Prison in Ossining, N.Y.
On This Date:
In 1862, Congress passed, and President Abraham Lincoln signed, a measure abolishing slavery in U.S. territories.
In 1865, Union troops commanded by Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, with news that the Civil War was over, and that all remaining slaves in Texas were free.
In 1910, the first-ever Father's Day was celebrated in Spokane, Wash. (The idea for the observance is credited to Sonora Louise Smart Dodd.)
In 1934, the Federal Communications Commission was created; it replaced the Federal Radio Commission.
In 1938, four dozen people were killed when a railroad bridge in Montana collapsed, sending a train known as the Olympian hurtling into Custer Creek.
In 1952, the celebrity-panel game show "I've Got A Secret" made its debut on CBS-TV with Garry Moore as host.
In 1963, President John F. Kennedy, speaking to Congress, criticized lawmakers for not acting on proposed civil rights legislation and called for passage of a single omnibus bill, the Civil Rights Act of 1963. Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova returned to Earth after three days as the first woman in space.
In 1972, Hurricane Agnes, blamed for at least 122 deaths, made landfall over the Florida Panhandle.
In 1973, the rock musical "The Rocky Horror Show" premiered in London (it was later adapted into the movie "The Rocky Horror Picture Show").
In 1986, University of Maryland basketball star Len Bias, the first draft pick of the Boston Celtics, suffered a fatal cocaine-induced seizure. Artificial heart recipient Murray P. Haydon died in Louisville, Ky., after 16 months on the manmade pump.
In 1987, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Louisiana law requiring any public school teaching the theory of evolution to teach creation science as well.
In 1999, author Stephen King was seriously injured when he was struck by a van driven by Bryan Smith in North Lovell, Maine. Britain's Prince Edward married commoner Sophie Rhys-Jones in Windsor, England.
Ten years ago:
The FBI put cosmetics heir Andrew Luster aboard a plane in Mexico and flew him back to California, five months after he'd been convicted in absentia of drugging and raping three women. Federal authorities said Iyman Faris, an Ohio truck driver who met Osama bin Laden and admitted plots against trains and the Brooklyn Bridge, had pleaded guilty to felony charges. (Faris was later sentenced to 20 years in prison.) The U.S. Air Force dropped manslaughter and aggravated assault charges against two fighter pilots who mistakenly bombed Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan in 2002. (One pilot was later found guilty of dereliction of duty and was reprimanded.)
Five years ago:
President George W. Bush surveyed the aftermath of devastating floods during a quick tour of the Midwest, assuring residents and rescuers alike that he was listening to their concerns and understood their exhaustion. Democrat Barack Obama announced he would bypass public financing for the presidential election, even though Republican John McCain was accepting it.
One year ago:
Egypt's Hosni Mubarak was moved out of prison to a military hospital after the 84-year-old ousted leader reportedly suffered a stroke and his condition rapidly deteriorated. The Southern Baptist Convention voted to elect its first African-American president, Rev. Fred Luter Jr. Actor Victor Spinetti, 82, died in London.
Pop singer Tommy DeVito (The Four Seasons) is 85. Actress Gena Rowlands is 83. Singer Spanky McFarlane (Spanky and Our Gang) is 71. Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi is 68. Actress Phylicia Rashad is 65. Rock singer Ann Wilson (Heart) is 63. Musician Larry Dunn is 60. Actress Kathleen Turner is 59. Country singer Doug Stone is 57. Singer Mark DeBarge is 54. Singer-dancer Paula Abdul is 51. Actor Andy Lauer is 50. Rock singer-musician Brian Vander Ark (Verve Pipe) is 49. Actress Mia Sara is 46. Rock musician Brian "Head" Welch is 43. Actor Jean Dujardin is 41. Actress Robin Tunney is 41. Actor Bumper Robinson is 39. Actress Poppy Montgomery is 38. Alt-country singer-musician Scott Avett (The Avett Brothers) is 37. Actor Ryan Hurst is 37. Actress Zoe Saldana is 35. Actress Lauren Lee Smith is 33. Actor Paul Dano is 29. Actor Atticus Shaffer is 15.
Thought for Today:
"Free thinkers are generally those who never think at all." - Laurence Sterne, English author (1713-1768).