June is a few months away. Some wonder why Juneteenth is discussed throughout the year.
The holiday known as Juneteenth arrived and was celebrated across the United States with family, friends, food, music and maybe even a parade with local organizations marching in memorial of that great day in history. But along with all that good food and music, a speech may have been heard in the middle of the community gathering or cookout, giving the reason why Juneteenth is such a significant day among the Afro-American/Black community.
Juneteenth is to be celebrated with understanding the rough water, bloodshed and mental exhaustion our Ancestors endured from the generations of enslavement with the news of freedom secured by the United States government with the executive order known as the Emancipation Proclamation, given September 22, 1862, with an effective date of January 1, 1863. And to find out a whole state missed the message.
This is the only state that held slaves after other states upheld the Proclamation as law, until two and a half years later falling on June 19, 1865. One could say this is because Texas slave owners were not going to free anybody that was enslaved. It was to the point where slave owners brought over 125,000 enslaved Africans from other states, totaling 250,000 in the state of Texas.
Put this in perspective, it took nearly three years from when the Proclamation was signed, and another two months after General Robert E. Lee surrendered to the North, on April 9, 1865, for the message to be delivered by General Gordon Granger. This was also part of his official business in which a force of 2,000 troops of the Union Army accompanied him, declaring occupation of the United States government within the state of Texas.
However, the highlight of the day, to those in concern, was the first line of General Granger’s Third General Order, as it reads “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.”
Utilize June 19th and every day, for education and to recognize how far we came from the hardest times in American history. I encourage all Afro-Americans to read on our history and gain your knowledge of self to better yourself and one another.
Let’s go back to the library card and spend a day reading and learning about our ancestral cultures. We’ll be a healthier people if we enrich ourselves with fruitful knowledge, discussing ideas, and making moves in a positive direction.
It takes all of us to continue to spread the message about Juneteenth. We know that slavery exists in locations throughout the world. We can only hope its eradication will take place quickly and swiftly. Slavery of the mind, however, is another thing. When will those who hear the message of delivering oneself from indentured mental captivity begin to walk in their freedom?
That’s what Juneteenth is about progressing forward socially, economically, and spiritually with dignity and pride. But that’s just my thoughts on why Juneteenth is so significant, and rightfully so.
Here are a few great resources to read about Juneteenth: PBS.com AJC.com