Jousting on Juneteenth?

In an earlier note about Juneteenth and baseball, I found myself wondering what an 1871 article in Houston meant by referring to a “tournament” that would take place on the State Fair grounds as part of the two-day celebrations of June 19.

Well, in 1938, local historian Jesse Ziegler suggested that some of the old (white) residents of Houston had “introduced tournaments at the old fair grounds in the ‘Seventies.'” Ziegler continued:

Ladies on side saddles, with long plush skirts, flowing plumes on wide hats and buff gauntlets would accompany their knights wearing colors, when they performed with their lances and rings on the frames.

Given the Fair Grounds location of the 1871 Juneteenth celebration I was interested in, I’m now wondering if an event of a similar sort took place there. Ziegler, a white historian identified with the Sons of the Confederate Veterans, would not be the best source for discovering that, but the clue is interesting nonetheless.

[P.S. at 12:53: And the more I think about it, this would be an odd and potentially subversive activity, given the role that faux-medieval “ring tournaments” played in white Lost Cause rituals elsewhere in the South, especially in the immediate aftermath of the Civil War. Paul Christopher Anderson writes about those in an essay collection titled, appropriately, Weirding the War.]

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W. Caleb McDaniel @wcaleb
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