Juneteenth: Commemorating the End of Slavery

Photo Credit: Englishblackfriday.wordpress.com

Photo Credit: Englishblackfriday.wordpress.com

Today is Juneteenth (June 19th)! Juneteenth.com refers to this special day for many African Americans as the ‘oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States.’ The author writes:

“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…

Today, Juneteenth commemorates African American freedom and emphasizes education and achievement. It is a day, a week and in some areas a month marked with celebrations, guest speakers, picnics and family gatherings. It is a time for reflection and rejoicing. It is a time for assessment, self-improvement and planning the future. “

Today, Juneteenth is celebrated all over the world.

What special plans do you have for what the Smithsonian calls ‘Our other Independence Day?’

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