“Access to information is the key to freedom”
June 19th marks Juneteenth, National Freedom Day. Celebrated annually, Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. It is the name given to Emancipation Day by African-Americans in Galveston, Texas, in 1865, when Union Major General Gordon Granger arrived in town and read General Order #3 to the people of Galveston. It stated, “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.”
Juneteenth celebrates the freedom of those slaves in 1863 with the Emancipation Proclamation, which eventually made it to Texas in 1865, sometime between June 13 and June 19, hence Juneteenth.
So, since the 4th of July celebrates slave traders’ independence from their native Europe and Juneteenth commemorates the end of African slavery, why do more blacks seem to celebrate the 4th?
It’s unfortunate for African American’s, but “we” are not taught about Juneteenth or a lot of noteworthy African-American history in school. A significant number of African Americans don’t know what Juneteenth is or means because most of us go to schools with European values. At this point those that know about this national holiday should go out of there way to help teach black children the significance of Juneteenth.
Although the intent of Juneteenth is to recognize a monumental moment in black history, the celebration is not limited to just African-Americans. It’s a family event, we say it’s Black history, but it’s really American history. This event is for everyone. Freedom is for everyone.
If you know about a Juneteenth event in your community please leave a comment below with the details.