Juneteenth is representative of June Nineteenth, a commemorative holiday celebrating the end of slavery in the United States. To first understand why Black People celebrate Juneteenth one must understand the Emancipation Proclamation under the presidency of Abraham Lincoln.
President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, freeing all enslaved people in Confederate States. The Emancipation Proclamation states,
"All persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the
United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free; and the Executive Government of the United States,including the military
and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such
persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom."
In layman's terms, Our people were free and no one was to mess with it! Well, so we thought...
In actuality, the Emancipation Proclamation didn't instantly set all slaves free because not all places were under the Confederate control. Northern Union troops did venture down south to free more slaves, but Texas was one of the places where no major combating took place. There also wasn't a large presence of Union troops to enforce freeing the slaves. Slave owners from other states thought Texas, being a bordering state, would become a safe place to continue enslaving people. Some decided to relocate their slaves with hopes of avoiding any disruption from the Union troops. More than 250,000 people were still enslaved 2 1/2 years after Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. Slave owners tried to withhold the news of Freedom to get extra work out of their slaves since harvest season was upon them.
Two months after the Confederate States lost the Civil War, Federal Troops arrived in Texas on June 19, 1865 to take control of the state and enforce the Emancipation Proclamation. Celebrations broke out amongst the freed slaves and Juneteenth was born. Later that year, in December, slavery was formally abolished with the help of the 13th Amendment. Today Juneteenth commemorations have spread around the country holding this day in remembrance. Though we are free, we still have a long way to go. Our people were physically freed, but the government and white supremacy have introduced other forms of slavery:
1.) The Jim Crow South
2.) The Suppression of Voting Rights for Black People
3.) The Mass Incarceration of Black People
4.) The Never ending racism and unfair treatment in schools and the workplace
5.) The unjust killings of unarmed Black & Brown People by over funded police
Yes, our people were freed that day on June 19, 1865, but we were placed 100 steps behind everyone else. So when Juneteenth comes around, cling to your family, love on each other, support each other, and celebrate each other. For you don't know what the world holds for you, and you don't know if that will be your last time walking out the door just because of the color of your skin. True FREEDOM is equality for all, and we must keep striving to reach it and always celebrate where we come from. We come from strength and perseverance. Remember that God never puts more on us than we can bear. He knew we could take this and that is why we were chosen to go through this.
Stay strong my brothers and sisters, and celebrate Juneteenth width pride.