The Injustice of the First Juneteenth



The Emancipation Proclamation

https://www.history.com/

The Emancipation Proclamation issued by President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863, had established that all enslaved people in Confederate states in rebellion against the Union “shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.”

But in reality, the Emancipation Proclamation didn’t instantly free any enslaved people. The proclamation only applied to places under Confederate control and not to slave-holding border states or rebel areas already under Union control. However, as Northern troops advanced into the Confederate South, many enslaved people fled behind Union lines.

Illustrated print by Thomas Nast depicting life before and after emancipation. Keith Lance/Getty Images


Juneteenth and Slavery in Texas

In Texas, slavery had continued as the state experienced no large-scale fighting or significant presence of Union troops. Many enslavers from outside the Lone Star State had moved there, as they viewed it as a safe haven for slavery.

After the war came to a close in the spring of 1865, General Granger’s arrival in Galveston that June signaled freedom for Texas’s 250,000 enslaved people. Although emancipation didn’t happen overnight for everyone—in some cases, enslavers withheld the information until after harvest season—celebrations broke out among newly freed Black people, and Juneteenth was born. That December, slavery in America was formally abolished with the adoption of the 13th Amendment.


Does an Exception Clause in the 13th Amendment Still Permit Slavery?

The year following 1865, freedmen in Texas organized the first of what became the annual celebration of "Jubilee Day" on June 19. In the ensuing decades, Juneteenth commemorations featured music, barbecues, prayer services and other activities, and as Black people migrated from Texas to other parts of the country the Juneteenth tradition spread.

In 1979, Texas became the first state to make Juneteenth an official holiday; several others followed suit over the years. In June 2021, Congress passed a resolution establishing Juneteenth as a national holiday; President Biden signed it into law on June 17, 2021.

WATCH: Emancipation Proclamation: How Lincoln Could Abolish Slavery


Juneteenth is a federal holiday in the United States according to Wickipedia. For decades, activists and congress members (led by many African Americans) proposed legislation, advocated for, and built support for state and national observances. During his campaign for president in June 2020, Joe Biden publicly celebrated the holiday, during his campaign for reelection, added making the day a national holiday part of his "Platinum Plan for Black America".[85] Spurred on by the advocates and the Congressional Black Caucus, on June 15, 2021, the Senate unanimously passed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act,[20] establishing Juneteenth as a federal holiday; it subsequently passed through the House of Representatives by a 415–14 vote on June 16.[86][87] President Joe Biden signed the bill[88][89] on June 17, 2021, making Juneteenth the eleventh American federal holiday and the first to obtain legal observance as a federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was designated in 1983.[90][91][92] According to the bill, federal government employees will now get to take the day off every year on June 19, or should the date fall on a Saturday or Sunday, they will get the Monday or Friday closest to the Saturday or Sunday on which the date falls.[93]

It is so sad, that even though there were laws to free the slaves, many ignored the law. Slaves did not know about the law. Slaves remained slaves. The injustice of Juneteenth must be recognized for what it was. In spite of President Lincolns fight to free the slaves, across our country was massive disrepect for the law. Does that sound familiar?

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