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Happy Juneteenth!

June 18, 2012

Juneteenth is a holiday commemorating the end of slavery in Texas in 1865. Nowadays, it is observed as a celebration of African-American heritage and traditions across the United States.

Though Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1862, many slaves were not immediately freed due to resistance by slave owners in the Confederate states. On June 19th, 1865, Union troops arrived in Galveston, Texas to enforce emancipation. General Gordon Granger read General Order No. 3, which read:

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.

The holiday has been celebrated as Juneteenth ever since.

Modern-day Juneteenth celebrations often include a reading of the Emancipation Proclamation, performances of traditional African-American song and dance, and family activities.

Happy Juneteenth from all of us at Word!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. June 28, 2012 10:16 pm

    Juneteenth is America’s 2nd Independence Day celebration. Americans of African descent were trapped in the tyranny of enslavement on the country’s first “4th of July”, 1776, Independence Day.

    It took over 88 years for the news of freedom to be announced in Southwest Texas, the last southern state in rebellion during the Civil War, where enslavement was allowed, over two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued by President Lincoln. The dynamic leadership of abolitionist Frederick Douglass was very important to the ending of enslavement in America.

    41 states recognize Juneteenth as a state holiday or state holiday observance, the District of Columbia, as well as the Congress of the United States.

    We join our ancestors, Americans of African descent, in the celebration of the announcement of freedom, on the “19th of June”, Juneteenth. It was the 13th Amendment passed by the U.S. Congress on December 6, 1865, and signed by the Secretary of State on December 18, 1865, that was the legal action that ended enslavement in America.

    The “Modern Juneteenth Movement” recognizes and supports Juneteenth as our National Freedom Day, when we come together as Americans to celebrate freedom from enslavement in the nation.

    The “19th of June” and the “4th of July” completes the cycle of Independence Day celebrations in America. You can not celebrate freedom in America without both days.

    Together we will see Juneteenth become a national holiday observance in America!

    Rev. Ronald V. Myers, Sr., M.D.
    National Juneteenth Holiday Campaign
    National Juneteenth Observance Foundation (NJOF)
    National Juneteenth Christian Leadership Council (NJCLC)
    National Association of Juneteenth Jazz Presenters (NAJJP)

  2. June 28, 2012 10:18 pm

    As in previous years, President Obama did not issue a Presidential Proclamation establishing Juneteenth as a national day of observance, but just another impersonal annual Juneteenth statement. Juneteenth has never been celebrated at the White House and President Obama has yet to speak to the public about the significance of Juneteenth Independence Day in America.

    The White House and the U.S. Capitol were built by Americans of African descent during the tyranny of enslavement. President Obama should host a White House Juneteenth reception to honor their sacrifice.

    However, thanks for writing and reporting on Juneteenth. Most importantly, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX) has introduced legislation to make Juneteenth Independence Day a National Day of Observance, like Flag Day and Patriot Day.

    We urge President Obama to do the right thing and join the U.S. Congress to establish Juneteenth Independence Day as a National Day of Observance in America.

    Together we will see Juneteenth become a national holiday in America!

    Rev. Ronald V. Myers, Sr., M.D.
    Founder & Chairman
    National Juneteenth Holiday Campaign
    National Juneteenth Observance Foundation (NJOF)
    National Juneteenth Christian Leadership Council (NJCLC)
    National Association of Juneteenth Jazz Presenters (NAJJP)

  3. Faustina permalink
    November 27, 2013 2:01 am

    Every society has a history.It is however unfortunate that, that of the African Americans is a sad one.Celebrating emancipation day should be upheld by all Americans since it marks a turning point for both Black and White they lose their superiority and freed from being slaves respectively. Juneteenth reminds both white and black Americans they are equal regardless of skin colour and there should be no discrimination as we still witness now.This news of equality and freedom is clearly seen in a person with an African background being a president of the United States..That is president Obama.This day should be made a national holiday so that posterity will continue it.

  4. Grace .A.D. Djan permalink
    December 13, 2013 10:57 am

    A society without history, be it bitter or sweet would in my opinion be very unfortunate one. The memories of the past I believe shapes our present and in effect, our future is or becomes what we desire it to be. The celebration of Juneteenth, i believe should be held unto very dearly because, it is through these lens that African Americans will actually see the need to shake off whatever that is left of the past, while embracing the future with great optimism. African American should know that though they’ve had bitter experiences in the past, they have such rich history, and it is this power and strength that bonds them and keeps them going.

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