For those unfamiliar with its history, June 19, 1865, commonly referred to as Juneteenth, is the date that the Union Army’s Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas and announced the end of both the Civil War and slavery. The declaration came almost two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln announced the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed all slaves in the Confederacy. The two and a half year delay was due, in part, to the fact that Texas was the western most slave-holding state and saw only limited battles and Union troops. This meant that few slaves in Texas were aware of President Lincoln’s declaration, as well as their freedom. Subsequently, legal freedom for all enslaved people in the United States came with the end of the Civil War and the passage of the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
As a people It’s time for that to change.
If the past several weeks have taught us anything, it is that far too few Americans, particularly white Americans, have a true understanding of both the history of the Black community in their country, as well as the relentless systems of racism and oppression that impact every aspect of Black Americans’ lives. Despite generations of efforts being made to identify and address disparities in income health, safety, and access to fundamental rights many Americans take for granted, far too few of the nation’s citizens feel a sense of shared ownership and obligation to answer the call. Equally, even as the number of people who are willing to stand up and say Black Lives Matter grows, still far too few know how to take tangible steps to make that commitment a reality.
I am proud to have been alive to see this momentous occasion come to pass. Hundreds of our people, stood proudly in the streets flags waving, singing songs of freedom!! It's about time OUR EMANCIPATION is not only recognized but legalized....this is only the beginning !!!!!