We are just a few days away from marking the 143rdanniversary of Juneteenth, the day, which represents the true end to slavery. Many think that slavery ended with President Lincoln’s signing of the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1st, 1863, however, the slave’s way of life continued in many areas including Galveston, Texas until June 19th, 1865.
On this date, General Granger and his men rode into Galveston spreading, enforcing the word released from the executive branch of government that the Civil War was over, and the enslaved were free.
At that moment knowledge was empowering as numerous former slaves left the plantation to embark on a new way of life. They became the latest territorial explorers. As they moved to states such as Louisiana and Arkansas, many continued to uphold June 19th, later affectionately referred to as Juneteenth, as a day of celebration. The cause for rejoicing was not limited to the end of slavery but also encompassed an appreciation for all cultures. Juneteenth honors where we have been and sheds light on where we were are going. It supports self-improvement through attaining education and building personal and moral character.
Akin to the nationally recognized Independence Day, Juneteenth represents the independence of African American people. The growth of these celebrations fell in step with several civil rights marches and although its popularity dwindled with the Great Depression, it resurrected with the civil rights movement of the 1960’s.
Honoring Juneteenth is becoming a grassroots movement with events crisscrossing the United States and abroad.
Due to the inadequate and, in many cases, the blatant lack of Black history Education, pride of Juneteenth is just touching the consciously of many inside and outside the African American community.
With this article and through the efforts of such sites as Juneteenth.com, the honor for this day will live through us for generations to come.