Juneteenth -fREEDOM DAY
June 19 –Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States
Amid the national and international protests in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, there has been an incredible political mobilization for racial justice. This creates a huge opportunity for every American to seek to revisit our American history, acknowledge the real scars and unhealed wounds of our past and present and fully recognize the positive contributions of African Americans that have made up the country we are today.
HISTORY OF JUNETEENTH
Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. Note that this was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation - which had become official January 1, 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on the Texans due to the minimal number of Union troops to enforce the new Executive Order. However, with the surrender of General Lee in April of 1865, and the arrival of General Granger’s regiment, the forces were finally strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance. Source: JUNETEENTH.com
What is Juneteenth?
Juneteenth, a nationwide event, is also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Emancipation Day, and the Black Fourth of July celebrated annually on June 19th. In 1980, “Emancipation Day in Texas” became a legal state holiday in recognition of Juneteenth. There are a number of other states that are moving to recognize Juneteenth as an official holiday. There is also a push to make it a national holiday.
It is a day in recognition of the positive contributions of African Americans to our society and to observe the ending of slavery in the United States. On June 19, 1985, Union General Gordon Granger led thousands of federal troops to Galveston, Texas to announce the Civil War had ended, and slaves had been freed. This was more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation had been signed.
|“But, if this part of our history could be told in such a way that those chains of the past, those shackles that physically bound us together against our wills could, in the telling, become spiritual links that willingly bind us together now and into the future – then that painful Middle Passage could become, ironically, a positive connecting line to all of us whether living inside or outside the continent of Africa…”|
The passage above truly captures the spirit of Juneteenth and the mission of JUNETEENTH.com. Read it slowly, several times, until you internalize its message – then you will know and feel the passion, the inspiration, and the necessity of this cause.
The future of Juneteenth looks bright as the number of cities and states creating Juneteenth committees continues to increase. Respect and appreciation for all our differences grow out of exposure and working together. Getting involved and supporting Juneteenth celebrations creates new bonds of friendship and understanding among us. This indeed brightens our future.
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