The year was June 19, 1865, and the setting was Galveston, Texas, where Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed with news that the war had ended and that the slaves were now free. If you know your American History, you will recall the fact that this happened two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. The initial Emancipation Proclamation did not cause much of a stir in Texas because there were so few Unions troops there to enforce it. This is the proclamation that General Granger read in Texas.
“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 rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and free laborer.” Through the years, a celebration of this event began and intensified in scope, and was deemed the Juneteenth celebration.
In 2000, a book titled,”The Juneteenth Story: From African Slaves To African American,” was published by Larry Batchlor, and in 2013, its stage adaptation by Batchlor and Levi Frazier Jr., made its way to the Cannon Center of Performing Arts in Memphis. Because of the response to the play, Jackie Murray was chosen as the director of a February 2016 production of the play. It will also be performed at the Cannon Center. During the next few weeks, cast and crew of the production will be featured in articles in the performing arts section of the Examiner. Jackie Murray is the first of those to be spotlighted here.
Jackie Murray has become a staple of the entertainment industry in Memphis, and has worn many hats, including singer, actress, director, playwright and stage manager. She is originally from Baltimore, Maryland, but considers Memphis to be her home. Listed below are some of her many accomplishments in the entertainment arena.
Jackie has been involved in over 27 stage productions, with 22 of those as an actor, four as stage manager, one as assistant director and two as director. She held multiple titles in some of these productions. In addition, she has appeared 19 times in films and TV, with numerous appearances as a singer. She has also performed in one-person shows.
In her description of the cast that she has chosen for “The Juneteenth Story, “ she says, “I have assembled a gifted and talented group of actors and dancers who I am delighted to work with to tell this story. Our production team is also some of the best talents in the business.”
To learn more about this fantastic entertainer, visit her website at Jackie Murray. You can also visit “The Juneteenth Story” online to learn more about the play, including dates, times and how to purchase tickets. Please be sure and check out the slide show of Jackie in this article, and also watch the video.
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