Tomorrow, June 19th, is Juneteenth and people are calling for it to be recognized as a national holiday, the recognition it so deserves. For those who are hearing this term for the first time or just don’t understand what it is, June 19, 1865 is the day Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas with the news that the Civil War had ended and that enslaved people were now free. That’s right- even though slavery had officially ended on January 1, 1863, with President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, it took over two years for the news to reach the group in Galveston (If only they had Twitter…) However, while news did travel much slower back then, this news took even longer than usual to be deliverd. There is much speculation as to why that was the case, including stories of messengers being murdered or intentional withholding of the information. Nonetheless, Juneteenth is recognized as the day all enslaved people were deemed free. In this Kare 11 feature, Katie Sample states:
“Juneteenth is our Fourth of July, we weren’t included in the Declaration of Independence. We were still being cruelly treated as slaves and mistreated by the United States of America.”
Though history cannot be rewritten we can relearn the truth about what has happened on US soil. If you are interested in ways to celebrate at home, work, or in the community, take a moment to explore the countless ways that you can honor, celebrate and remember the lives lost and the fight that was ultimately won. ¡Celebremos!