More than 150 years after slavery was officially ended in the United States, several communities continue to commemorate the change with a celebration called Juneteenth, a holiday reminding us of a fight for freedom for black slaves in America. However, the annual event is more than a celebration; it’s also important leap forward in American history.
“It was a civil when those eleven states southern states seceded from the union. the war ended in April of 1865. We know the emancipation proclamation had gone into effect January one of 1863,” said Sadie Joseph, co-founder of the Odell S. Williams African American Museum.
It took nearly a year and a half after Former President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation for slaves in Texas to find out about their free status. Joseph says it might have been longer if it wasn't for some brave soldiers.
“General Gordon Granger and union soldiers were strong enough to go into Galveston proclaiming the news of freedom to the last vestige of enslaved individuals. So hence Juneteenth, June and the 19th," Joseph said.
She also says that these types of celebrations teach us valuable lessons and she believes they also help bring us together.
“Events in history like this that talk about history and culture of African Americans that impact all of us, that it's good for not only us as African Americans but for Americans as a whole," she said.
State Representative C. Denise Marcelle also helped coordinate one of the annual Juneteenth celebrations and says they remain just as important now.
“We celebrate it every year because we cannot forget from whence we come if we want to know where we're going,” said Marcelle.
She also hopes the annual tradition will continue to grow.
“I want the young people to know their history on today, and so that's what this is about today; learning you know your history, what happened what Juneteenth means,” Marcelle said.
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