This Sunday is Juneteenth, the day when we recognize and honor the emancipation of enslaved African American people in this country. Last year Juneteenth became a federal holiday when the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act was signed into law, but this holiday has been celebrated in various ways since 1865.
Although the Emancipation Proclamation had taken place over two years before, enforcement of emancipation was a struggle for a long time in many parts of the Confederacy. It was on June 19, 1865, when the enslaved people of Texas learned of their freedom. Texas was the final state with institutional slavery and so we commemorate this day as the end of slavery in our nation.
It is vital that we learn about the history of our country, even the parts of our past that are difficult to acknowledge. By recognizing our history, we honor those who were forced to be voiceless for far too long. If you would like to learn more about Juneteenth, there is a wonderful book by Annette Gordon-Reed called On Juneteenth. You can find it on Amazon or wherever you like to purchase books.
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