On June 19, 1865, 250,000 enslaved African- Americans in Texas were told they were free….
This past Thursday, President Biden made Juneteenth a federal holiday. In case you don’t know what Juneteenth is, Juneteenth is a holiday that celebrates (commemorates) the end of slavery. Everyone should celebrate this holiday as an historic event in US history. With orgins from Galveston, Texas, Juneteenth or some like to call it “Freedom Day” or “Jubliee Day”, has been celebrated since 1866.
Although the Civil war had offically ended in 1865, the Union Army had to enforce the new law of the land. Anti-black legisaltion followed soon after. Black Codes and Jim Crow gave birth to segregation, voter opression, and mass lynching.
Some scholars and activist would argue that people of color are still not “free”.
We may not be free in the eyes of the living, but from the eyes of the enslaved, we have so much to be proud of. When we celebrate Juneteenth, we honor our ancestors and those who fought and shed blood for us. We must acknolwedge this day. For Juneteenth give birth to our fundamental rights as American citizens.
Celebrate Juneteenth with Pride
Back then, Folks from Galveston celebrated the holiday by educating newly freed blacks about their voting rights. Gatherings were held and events were hosted. In current times, the celebration of Juneteenth is far more glamorous and widespread.
It took years of activism for Junenteeth to be recoginzed and celebrated within our commuinty. George Floyd’s death and the resurgence of #blacklivesmatter has given black voices a permanent platform. Social media has shifted the way Americans deal with racism too. Forcing a much needed dialogue, change is pushed by imagery, likes, and shares.Today, Juneteeth is celebrated throughout the country.
Don’t shy away from those uncomfortable conversations. Open conversations that we have about race are neccessary! Juneteeth is the conversation starter! There was a time where our history wasn’t taught and wasn’t known.
Don’t let go of the past, respect and honor it
This day is history. We must pay our respects to the people that came before us. We must continue to honor our history so it must never be repeated. Now more than ever, it is important that all Americans recognize this day in rememberance and in celebration.
Without Juneteenth and the Emanciapiton of Proclamation we would have no foundamental rights as people. There would be no Civil Rights or Black lives matter. Juneteenth gave birth to the first generation of free people. Now more than ever, it is important that all Americans recognize this day in rememberance and in celebration.
What does freedom mean to you?
Photocred: Getty Images