Willie Rainwater will be busy Saturday commemorating his family’s fight for equality here, as well as the broader civil rights struggle of the nation.
Willie Rainwater says that although Carrollton may appear to have little black history, there is actually a strong heritage, including the Carrollton Community Cemetery.
Officially, it’s a Juneteenth celebration – the Texas commemoration of the end of slavery. It dates to June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers landed in Galveston with news that the war had ended and the enslaved were free throughout the nation. More than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation, an estimated 250,000 slaves in Texas heard of their liberty.
Today and throughout the weekend, Juneteenth celebrations are occurring throughout the Dallas area, in Texas and in many parts of the United States. But the day holds multiple meanings for Rainwater in Carrollton.
“In my city, it is hard to find black history,” says Rainwater, 66. “It’s like black people never lived here.”
Make that officially recognized black history, because the Rainwater family has been peeling back the historical onion layer by layer for some time.