(Post title updated at 1:33 pm)
On June 19, 1865, two and a half years after U.S. President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, enslaved Blacks in Galveston Bay, Texas were finally informed that they were free. Juneteenth is a holiday honoring this moment. For many African Americans, it is also symbolic of Black people’s continuing struggle for freedom. It holds a special significance this year because of all the recent events reminding Black people that, despite official proclamations, there is still a ways to go on the journey towards equality and justice.
Today, I want to share links to two short pieces of reading about Juneteenth.
The Historical Legacy of Juneteenth (From the NMAAHC)
This brief history of the holiday features a picture of a family at a Juneteenth celebration in 1900 and a picture of Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.
What is Juneteenth? (June 17, 2013 article in The Root, written by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.)
In this article, Professor Henry Louis (“Skip”) Gates, Jr. discusses not only the holiday’s history, but also “alternate” emancipation holidays and the evolution of the Juneteenth holiday in contemporary times.
I hope you enjoy reading both of these pieces and that you find ways to express support for racial equality and freedom, today and every day.