RALEIGH – You’ve likely heard of Juneteenth before. You might even know exactly what it is, and celebrate it. But for a whole lot of people, 2020 is the first time they’re hearing of this African-American holiday, a celebration of liberty. That’s because it started regionally, spread communally, and is quite culturally specific, historically. Yet, with BLM and the current wave of Critical Race theorists washing over the nation, race and the legacy of slavery are front and center for Americans (whether they ought to be or not is a different story).
If you’re one of those that’s wondered what, exactly, this Juneteenth is: In short, it’s the day in 1865 that many slave communities learned of their emancipation. Below is a primer (published last year, before the current atmosphere ignited) on its history of observance.
It’s vital to note however, that in marking a celebration of individual freedom and liberty — of a declaration of “absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property” regardless of race or former status — the spirit of Juneteenth, Freedom Day, celebrates principles exactly the opposite of those pushed by collectivist, race-dependent agitators spearheading the Black Lives Matter movement. Principles enshrined in, but not fully realized upon adoption of, our U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence.
So while you are hearing of Juneteenth more than ever before, precisely because of the pressures of the woke cultural onslaught we are facing right now from the likes of BLM and other radical Leftists, honestly acknowledging this holiday’s meaning is to reject the immoral systems of thought that underlie slavery and which are championed within the current collectivist movements of the radical Left. Those groups are pushing such poison, using Juneteenth as a natural vehicle right now.
With that in mind, here’s a good summary of Juneteenth below. May we all appreciate a genuine celebration of life, liberty, private property, freedom, and the grace of God.
It was originally celebrated on June 19, the day that Union soldiers in 1865 told enslaved African Americans in Galveston, Texas, that the Civil War had ended and they were free.
Celebrations include parades, concerts, and readings of the Emancipation Proclamation. This year, Juneteenth will also feature the first congressional hearing in more than a decade on reparations for slavery.
Here’s a look at the holiday and its history:
The celebration started with the freed slaves of Galveston, Texas. Although the Emancipation Proclamation freed the slaves in the South in 1863, it could not be enforced in many places until after the end of the Civil War in 1865.
Laura Smalley, who was freed from a plantation near Bellville, Texas, remembered in a 1941 interview that her former master had gone to fight in the Civil War and came home without telling his slaves what had happened.
“Old master didn’t tell, you know, they was free,” Smalley said . “I think now they say they worked them, six months after that. Six months. And turn them loose on the 19th of June. That’s why, you know, we celebrate that day.”
It was June 19, 1865 when Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger and his Union troops arrived at Galveston with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free.
Granger delivered General Order No. 3, which said: “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 next year, the now-freed slaves started celebrating Juneteenth in Galveston, and the celebration has continued around the nation and the world since.
WHAT DOES JUNETEENTH MEAN?
The term Juneteenth is a blend of the words June and nineteenth. The holiday has also been called Juneteenth Independence Day or Freedom Day.
According to Dee Evans, national director of communications of the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation, there will be Juneteenth celebrations in almost every state this year.
Black Texans took the holiday with them as they moved around the country and overseas, Evans said, and what started as a local celebration went international.
Forty-six states and the District of Columbia recognize Juneteenth as a state holiday or day of recognition, like Flag Day. Countries like South Korea, Ghana, Israel, Taiwan, France, and the U.S. territory of Guam have held or now hold Juneteenth celebrations.
A resolution recognizing Juneteenth as a national holiday passed the Senate last year, but the accompanying resolution has not been approved in the House.
REMEMBERING THE PAST
Juneteenth celebrations used to revolve around the church with speeches and picnics, said Para LaNell Agboga, museum site coordinator at the George Washington Carver Museum, Cultural and Genealogy Center in Austin, Texas, which has one of the only permanent Juneteenth museum exhibits in the country.
It changed around the 1960s with the civil rights movement, she said.
“It became a little more secular and stretched over more than one day,” Agboga said. “It became kind of a time of community gathering … It’s really more huge parties and huge parades and big concerts, but always bringing in freedom. It’s all about freedom.” [CONTINUE READING]