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Celebrating Freedom on Juneteenth

Celebrating Freedom on Juneteenth

Celebrating Freedom on Juneteenth 532 325 Ken Miller

On June 19, 1865, in Galveston, Texas, Union General Gordon Granger read General Order No. 3, proclaiming freedom for enslaved people in Texas. This day, known as Juneteenth, marked the effective end of slavery in the United States, two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. The delayed enforcement of emancipation in Texas was a bittersweet reminder of the persistent struggles faced by African Americans even after official decrees of freedom.

Juneteenth quickly became a symbol of liberation and a celebration of African American culture and resilience. In the following years, freedmen and women would gather to commemorate this day with music, food, prayer, and communal support. It was a time to reflect on their journey from bondage to freedom and to honor their ancestors who endured unimaginable hardships.

Juneteenth is important as a memorial in African American communities because it recognizes the end of one of the darkest chapters in American history. It serves as a reminder of the enduring fight for equality and justice. The celebrations are not just about the historical event itself but also about acknowledging the ongoing struggle against systemic racism and honoring the achievements and contributions of African Americans.

Juneteenth has gained wider recognition across the United States in recent years, culminating in its designation as a federal holiday in 2021. This formal acknowledgment has amplified its significance, encouraging more Americans to learn about this crucial part of the nation’s history.

The day stands as a powerful testament to the resilience of the African American community and a call to continue the pursuit of true freedom and equality for all.

Featured in Northern Lights, June 20, 2024

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