History of Juneteenth: On June 19, 1865, General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas to proclaim freedom to enslaved African Americans. Allegedly, this group of enslaved people were the last to learn of their freedom.
However, on September 22, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln issued the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, which declared effective January 1, 1863, enslaved people in the Confederacy, “shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.” The Proclamation did not free “all” enslaved people in the Union.
In an 1854 speech Lincoln said, “if the negro is a man, why then my ancient faith teaches me that ‘all men are created equal;’ and that there can be no moral right in connection with one man’s making a slave of another.”
For decades after slavery, Black churches like the African American Presbyterian and African Methodist Episcopal celebrated “Emancipation Day” on January 1st. Some people have conflicting views whether to celebrate the end of slavery on September 22, January 1, or June 19.
Many organized and celebrated Juneteenth, but Opal Lee born in Marshall, Texas is the founding “Grandmother” of Juneteenth federal and state holiday. At 89 years young, she started a 2.5 mile Walk for Freedom to honor Juneteenth. By 2021, the holiday was signed into law. At 95, she celebrates the Juneteenth holiday. She is also the author of “Juneteenth for Children.”
Those who chose to celebrate on June 19th must understand the importance and responsibility associated with this date because it commemorates the “announcement of freedom” to the last known group of enslaved people in the confederacy. Now, your responsibility is to work toward ending bondage and declaring freedom to our people.
Today, descendants of American slavery remain in bondage. Many endure discrimination and disparity in HEMS (healthcare, housing, education, employment, military, maintenance and support services).
Effective 2022, more than Three Hundred forty-one (341,000) thousand children are missing in the United States. More than 50% or half of these children are descendants of American slavery or identify as “Black.” These children are not “free.”
Juneteenth is your day to deliver good news; work toward freeing people from prison, ending poverty, healing the sick and helping the elderly and shut-in. It is your day to expose and end discrimination and disparity. It is your day to find the missing and free people held in bondage. This is your challenge, what will you do on Juneteenth?
To the corporations now profiting from Juneteenth, consumers must respond by demanding that these corporations work toward social justice transformation and progress not profit. Corporations must recognize since 1619 enslaved people worked for free until 1865.
Then and now, Blacks have worked for no-pay to low-pay and many struggle every day due to wage-gaps. These corporations should help seek reparations for descendants of American slavery, not engage in commercialization.
Juneteenth is not a day-off. It is a day-on!
Use social media to bring awareness to the plights of our people, especially our missing children.
Start a missing person campaign in your community: Create and post fliers; Door-to-Door; Engage police on their efforts; Help families with missing children. Demonstrate.
Advocate for social justice transformation.
Educate. Advocate. Motivate: What is Juneteenth? What is our history?
Tour Galveston, Texas and visit Reedy’s Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church, the site where General Gordon Granger and his troops stopped and nailed the “General Order No. 3” to the door post.
Feed the hungry and provide shelter to the homeless.
Support Black owned and operated businesses.
Visit our elderly, our sick and shut-in. Create an elderly “foster or adopt an elderly program” to ensure their safety and well-being.
Create community support groups. Remember the village.
Create a voters drive, which educates, engages and empowers youth ages 18-21.
Volunteer. Do a good-deed!
Progress NOT Profit
Reparations NOT Commercialization
Information and locations across the U.S. where you can sign-up for volunteer work and community service. Plus, event information.