“In honoring that moment, we should recognize a moral at the heart of that day in Galveston and in the entirety of American life: there is a vast chasm between the concept of freedom inscribed on paper and the reality of freedom in our lives…There’s a paradox inherent in the fact that emancipation is celebrated primarily among African-Americans, and that the celebration is rooted in a perception of slavery as something that happened to black people, rather than something that the country committed. The paradox rests on the presumption that the arrival of freedom should be greeted with gratitude, instead of with self-reflection about what allowed it to be deprived in the first place.” Jelani Cobb
“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.” (Sources: 1. A Look Into Our History, 2. History of Juneteenth)
Below are some links to some pieces written by brilliant thinkers:
To read the Emancipation Proclamation: Click Here
To read the 13th Amendment: Click Here
“On this day in 1865, more than two years after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation and two months after the end of the Civil War, the slaves of Galveston, Texas finally received word that they were free at last.
We don’t have to look far to see that racism and bigotry, hate, and intolerance, are still all too alive in our world. Just as the slaves of Galveston knew that emancipation was only the first step toward true freedom, just as those who crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma knew their march was far from finished, or the protesters of today continue to fight for Black lives around the country––our work remains far from done. As long as people are treated differently based on nothing more than the color of their skin––we cannot honestly say that our country is living up to its highest ideals.
And that awareness isn’t unpatriotic. In fact, it’s patriotic to believe that we can make America better. We’re strong enough to be self-critical. We’re strong enough to look upon our imperfections and strive, together, to make this country we love more perfect. Juneteenth has never been a celebration of victory, or an acceptance of the way things are. Instead, it’s a celebration of progress. It’s an affirmation that despite the most painful parts of our history, change is possible. So no matter our color or our creed, no matter where we come from or who we love, today is a day to find joy in the face of sorrow and to hold the ones we love a little closer. And tomorrow is a day to keep marching.” Barack Obama