Setting the Record Straight on Juneteenth
U.S., Mexico, France gain freedom through June 19, 1865 victory
BMWorldwide-LOS ANGELES — Three nations owe their freedoms to the victory achieved on June 19, 1865, Civil War expert John William Templeton told the South Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce during a lecture on Juneteenth: Facts v. Myths Wednesday night.
The National Park Service subject matter expert on African-Americans in the West and the abolition movement told them that 14 regiments of U.S. Troops of African Descent were in Texas that day with a mission to compel the surrender of Texas and prevent an alliance between the remaining Confederates and French forces that had occupied Mexico.
“Galveston was in Union hands between the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation and the signing of the final document on Jan. 1, 1863,” noted Templeton, who was first to see the document on its 150th anniversary at the National Archives. He is author of:
- Road to Ratification: How 27 States Faced the Most Challenging Issue in American History
- Citizenship for All: 150th anniversary of the 14th Amendment
- We Fought, We Vote: 150th anniversary of the 15th Amendment
“According to the U.S. Army Center for Miltiary History, Gen. U.S. Grant specifcially sent the 25th Corps, the nine Black regiments that occupied Petersburg and Richmond and cut off Robert E. Lee’s forces, to Texas in May 1865 to help force the French out of Mexico,” added Templeton. Archduke Maxmillian, who had installed himself as Emperor of Mexico in 1864, would be driven from Mexico shortly thereafter and would lose his throne in France as well.
“Failing to recognize the victory of the 209,145 U.S. Troops of African Descent over the Confederacy has impeded the healing from the nation’s deadliest conflict,” said Templeton. “It was clear at the time that the nation honored their service with the passage of the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments, a consensus which should be at the heart of any discussion of race. We don’t need to argue about a debate that has already been settled in the Constitution.”
Hosting the program was Agin Shaheed, M.A. co-editor with Templeton of Our Roots Run Deep: the Black Experience in California, Vols. 1-4. Shaheed retired after 18 years as manager of human relations for San Diego City Schools. He is great-grandson of C.C. Flint, the preeminent Black leader in Los Angeles at the beginning of the 20th century and grandson of J. MacFarline Ervin, the first Black administrator in Los Angeles Unified Schools
Templeton also previewed his opening remarks on July 14 to the U.S. Black Chambers in Washington, D.C.,citing his new report Down But Not Out: State of Black Business, 19th edition
For more details, contact J.W. Templeton at 415-240-3537 or [email protected]