What is Juneteenth and Why? – by Vincent I. Phipps

Foremost Happy Juneteenth to Everyone!

On January 1, 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation was the judiciary treaty signed by President Abraham Lincoln which was the country’s official acknowledgment to abolish slavery.

But did it?

Many of us were taught in school the importance of dates:

*1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue
*1920 Women’s right to fight, suffrage allowing women voting
*1969, Moon landing, “One giant leap for mankind”
*2009, America’s first president of color, Pres. Barack Obama

*1863, the ending of slavery, right?

Am in being picky about a date? Darn right!

Although the Civil War ended in April 1865 when Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox, Virginia, enslaved people in Texas didn’t learn about their freedom until June 19, 1865.

About 2.5 years after Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, it was Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger of the Union army who finally arrived in Galveston and issued General Order No. 3 that secured the Union army’s authority over Texas.

The last city in the United States to be informed of the ending of slavery was in a small town called Galveston, TX, in 1865!

How could this have occurred?

The same way we have the losses of the lives of Mr. George Floyd, Mr. Eric Garner, Mr. Rayshard Brooks, and hundreds more!  The same way we have yet to properly prosecute those who fail to protect.

People who could help stood by and did or said nothing.

Juneteenth celebrates human freedom.  Slave owners in 1865, knowingly broke the law-keeping their slaves in bondage through the Fall of 1865 to capitalize on more free labor.

Consider this?

**What if the minimum wage was increased to $100 / hour but for 2.5 years you were paid at your current rate?

**What if a mysterious stranger paid your rent for the next 2.5 years and your landlord forgets or chooses not to tell you?

**What if your mortgage or car note were paid off and your lender kept taking your monthly payments for almost the next three years?

Get the point?

In “Lone Star Pasts” Susan Merritt reported:

“Lots of Negroes were killed after freedom…bushwhacked, shot down while they were trying to get a way. You could see lots of Negroes hanging from trees.”

Freedom is not an African-American right.  Freedom is a human right.  Juneteenth is more than slaves being freed. It is recognition of a system’s acknowledgment about how immoral, unjust, and unethical the ideology that people could own other people was wrong.

Juneteenth (annually June 19), is to be celebrated by everyone.

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