, the annual day that commemorates June 19th, 1865 when Union Army General, Gordon General declared to then slaves they were free from the balcony of the Ashton Villa in Galveston Texas. Today (June 19), Black Twitter is celebrating “Freedom Day” and reminding white folks that 154 years ago is not long ago.
Now more than ever, Juneteenth is necessary due in large part to the in the White House and the scary resurgence of White Nationalism that his hateful rhetoric incites. Freedom Day was celebrated by Black slaves, mainly in the south who learned they were freed by Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, which was initially issued in January 1863. Now if you are wondering why it took it so long for slaves in Texas to find out, that all had to do with the Civil War and at the time the state was a part of the Confederacy led by white people who just couldn’t fathom the idea of doing their own hard labor.
Slaves did not learn of the Emancipation Proclamation till two months later when the Union Army arrived in Galveston. At the time Lincoln’s decree was meaningless until the Civil War was over. Once word spread from Texas on that fateful June day back in 1865, Black people across the south started celebrating the day now known as Juneteenth in 1866.
Now while our ancestors wildest dreams of freedom have come to fruition, the United States of America still has a lot of work to do in regards to the treatment of Black people. There has been tremendous progress, but a good portion of white people don’t get it, there are monuments that celebrate oppressive Confederacy soldiers, the Confederate flag still flies in some southern states. Just recently Senator says he is against Black people getting reparations for being used as slaves and had the audacity to say that President Barack Obama being elected was some form of payment.
Yup, we still got a long way to go, but we should use this day every year to remind Caucasians that they do indeed have tremendous amounts of work to do when it comes to atoning for the sins of their forefathers. You can check out the gallery below to all the reactions to Juneteenth.
Photo: Kathryn Scott Osler / Getty