What is Juneteenth?


Juneteenth became a national holiday last year but many still don’t know what it is or why it is celebrated.

Juneteenth is short for June nineteenth which marks the day in 1865 that federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas to take control of the state and ensure that 250,000 enslaved people were finally free freed.

“When the slaves found out that they were free, then they called it jubilation day," said Harrell Carter the President of the Jackson-Madison County Branch of the NAACP.

This was over two years after President Lincoln issued the emancipation proclamation on January 1, 1863

Lincoln declared that all enslaved people in the United States, “shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.”

Juneteenth is the day to celebrate that everyone in America was finally free.

Carter said, “There's always time to recognize freedom and goodwill toward anyone. We need to celebrate more days of freedom.”

Carter says that there is still a lot of work to do when it comes to social justice, "If we want this nation to become truly a nation that's free with liberty and justice for all, then we have to continuously fight for it. And right now, too many people are sitting on the sidelines.”

Carter says that the past is the key to changing the future, “Understand and know their history, understanding that history is the roadmap to where we want to go in the future."

Juneteenth is a celebration but Carter says it should also be a call to action, “If we're truly going to be one nation, if we want to love one another as we all think that we should, then the effort must be made. And our places of worship want our jobs and our manufacturing plants and our neighborhoods all over.”

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