Here at Glint, we recognize that all history is not sunshine and rainbows.
It’s often raw and gritty. However, we can learn from it to right past wrongs, so we are not doomed to repeat it. We think it’s appropriate to revisit the history of Juneteenth to appreciate its significance as a federal holiday.
Juneteenth commemorates the end of slavery in America. On June 19, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston with the news that the Civil War had ended and those in bondage were free. This announcement occurred two years after Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation officially abolished slavery. Why did it take two years? The most common reason is that there were not enough Union troops to enforce the order.
However, other theories have surfaced, explaining the communication gap. One says that enslavers wanted to take advantage of free labor as long as possible.
When Civil War General Robert E. Lee surrendered in April 1865, the executive order was reinforced and, more importantly, withstood opposition and resistance.
Fast forward to 2021. President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, establishing Juneteenth as a federal holiday. Fort Worth native and activist Opal Lee stood next to the president at the historic signing.
It’s worth noting that Texas state legislator Al Edwards championed efforts to make Juneteenth a state holiday in 1980.
Juneteenth observances celebrate African Americans’ resilience and, to some degree, the American spirit.
Read the Official Juneteenth Poem by Kristina Kay published on Juneteenth.com. What does it mean to you?
Official Juneteenth Poem
From Africa’s heart, we rose
Already a people, our faces ebon, our bodies lean,
Skills of art, life, beauty and family
Crushed by forces we knew nothing of, we rose
Survive we must, we did,
We rose to be you, we rose to be me,
Above everything expected, we rose
To become the knowledge we never knew,
Dream, we did
Act we must
Juneteenth celebrations have been occurring all month long; however, if you’d like ideas on how to observe the holiday, check out the Dallas/Fort Worth events below: