Updated: Mar 8, 2020
Today, June 19th, is a day commonly known as Juneteenth.
Here’s why we should all celebrate and acknowledge it:
President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1862 which took effect on January 1, 1863. This was supposed to free “all” slaves out of bondage and make them free citizens of the United States.
The problem with this, that is often untold, is that the proclamation really only applied to Confederate States. If you are familiar with the Civil War and the reason for fighting, President Lincoln really didn’t have the “authority” to free Confederate Slave, as he was in fact part of the Union. The Proclamation was established as a threat, almost, that if the Confederate States didn’t return to the Union, that all their slaves would be freed… forever. A bargaining tactic for peace in the country.
Eventually the Emancipation Proclamation led to the proposal and ratification of the 13th amendment to the Constitution which formally abolished slavery throughout the entire United States.
So, what is Juneteenth?
Well, January 1, 1863 wasn’t the actual day that ALL slaves were freed. On June 19th, 1865, two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed, Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Texas with the news that the war had ended and all enslaved people were NOW free. This news definitely was met with mixed signals and there are many tales and folklore on why it took so long for the news to reach Texas.
Why is this significant?
The REAL freedom of all slaves didn’t happen until June 19th. That is when enslaved families truly had an opportunity to be reunited. Not only could women locate their husbands but they could find their CHILDREN as well. During the time of slavery, a lot of times families were split up across plantations. This day, which has been celebrated in the African American community for over 150 years, is the day which ALL blacks felt a taste of freedom. They would no longer be considered as property but as human beings and citizens of the United States. We know that the Civil Rights movement and many movements after that have continued to push for our just, fair and equal treatment across the United States and worldwide. Juneteenth was only the beginning.
So today, the moms at MommiNation, celebrate with pride Juneteenth as the official day when ALL slaves were freed and families were given a chance to reunite and have a moment of peace.
Whether you choose to celebrate with a cookout serving traditional African American foods, attend a parade or visit an African American History museum; please continue the tradition of celebration of Juneteenth and share our history with the children of today.
Love & Light,