It was back in April that we marked the anniversary of the surrender at Appomattox Court House, which is seen by many as the unofficial end of the American Civil War. But word of the Civil War’s end didn’t reach Texas until June 19, 1865.
As TIME explained in 1997:
What followed, however, was more complicated than the early celebration suggested. Proof could be found in a New York Times story from that July, headlined “The Negro Question in Texas.” The story reported that Granger’s order had specified to the people of Texas that the freedom of the former slaves “involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves.”
It seemed that the people of Houston didn’t quite get the message: freedmen were being interrogated as to whom they belonged to; if they did not name someone, they would be accused of idleness and put to work for the city. “[So], if this was an outbreak of the old spirit, a drawing distinctions based upon color alone, giving white men the right to be as idle as they please, but not tolerating idleness among the blacks; allowing whites to work where they please, but sending blacks ‘home to their masters’ or to the public works; it is a system which will have to be changed at Galveston, or wherever it is entered upon,” the Times concluded.
It took years before Juneteenth celebrations expanded. One remnant of early commemorations can still be seen in cities like Houston, where the still-in-use Emancipation Park was created after the freed population pooled money in 1872 to purchase the land in order to use it for Juneteenth celebrations.
More than a century later, in 1997, Congress recognized Juneteenth with a joint resolution, commemorating the fact that “Juneteenth celebrations have thus been held for 130 years to honor the memory of all those who endured slavery and especially those who moved from slavery to freedom,” though it is not a nationally recognized holiday.
At least one place, however, will mark the anniversary with major festivities: Galveston, Tex.
Read more: Here’s How America Observes Juneteenth
My name is Joanna [UNKNOWN], Lifestyle Director at In Style. This fourth of July, create some fireworks of your own with a flag cake. Begin by baking four 8-inch cakes. One blue, two red velvet, and one white cake. Then, prepare the layers. Use a long serrated knife to trim off the rounded tops of the- Of each cake. Then slice the red and the white cakes in half horizontally. You’ll end up with two white, three red, and one blue cake layer that’s double the thickness of the others. Then cut out the interior layers. With a four inch plate or a cardboard cut out as a guide, use a small serrated knife to cut out a four inch round Round from the centers of one red layer, one white layer, and the blue cake. Now it’s time to assemble the cake. Start with an eight inch red layer. Top with a thin layer of frosting. Place the white layer on top. Then frost that one. Add the other red layer and frost. Place the blue ring on top. Frost the top of the four inch white round, and gently place it inside the blue ring. Insert the four inch, red velvet round into the blue ring next. Now it’s time to frost the cake. We like to put a thin layer of frosting on the cake first using an offset spatula. This is also known as a crumb coat. Pop the cake into the refrigerator until it’s firm letting it chill. For at least 30 minutes. Then take it out and spread the final layer of frosting over the entire cake. Put it back into the fridge to chill. And now, the moment you’ve been waiting for, the big reveal. When you cut into To the cake, an American flag. One for each of your guests. Pretty and patriotic. [MUSIC]