Thursday, June 19, 2014

Happy Juneteenth!

Juneteenth--the holiday celebrated as being the official Independence Day of Black Americans.

I had never heard of it before, but thanks to Twitter, I found the hashtag this morning and did my research into what it was all about. It was in January of 1863 that the Emancipation Proclamation was signed into law, but it wasn't until June 19th of 1865 that the law was read publicly in Texas, informing the slaves there that they were now free. Those slaves had been kept in enslavement for an extra two years, totally unaware that this was now unlawful. At long last, they were finally told they were free people. However, society hadn't changed much---clearly---and, therefore, it was still exceedingly difficult for former slaves to improve their lives, with difficult journeys north and a hard time finding jobs. 

I vaguely remember this fact may have been mentioned in passing throughout a history course early on in my high school career, but it must be stressed that the Emancipation Proclamation did not just come out of the blue and rectify the horrors that had been perpetuated since the beginning of America's founding. It has been a long, hard journey for our country to get to where it is today. And we've still got a lot of work to do. 

The hashtag #Juneteenth quickly grew throughout the day, spreading knowledge and awareness about important black history that is so often forgotten. It was great to watch it unfold, akin to the excitement about the #yesallwomen hashtag of a couple weeks ago (though, hopefully, without all the opposition).

You can learn more about Juneteenth here: Juneteenth.com

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