It’s Juneteenth!

Jubilee Day, or Juneteenth, is a holiday celebrated predominantly by African Americans on June 19th. While I feel it is good to read up on the history of Juneteenth on your own (Smithsonian is a great place to start), I think the conversations around the emergence of Juneteenth in recent years should be discussed as well. Consider the following:

What is the process to become a federal holiday? Where would you see Juneteenth falling in that process?

Why would Black people ever consider not celebrating Juneteenth (especially in the early 1900s)?

Juneteenth does not signify the freedom of all of enslaved people but rather the last few hundred thousand. The space between the Emancipation Proclamation, Juneteenth, and the 13th Amendment covers roughly two years. It is worth discussing why there are so many degrees of freedom when it comes to the enslaved.

Recently, many businesses have begun to recognize the holiday, some even allowing it as a day off. How can we be certain this is not a cosmetic change but rather a systemic one? How can we use this day effectively?

Overall, while Juneteenth is predominantly a day of celebration, there should still be time carved out to understand that this holiday exists. The Emancipation Proclamation was not upheld in Confederate States and as the South saw it, slavery would continue, regardless of the outcome of the Civil War. Some slave-owners uprooted themselves from populous areas of the South to venture deeper into Texan territory in hopes they could not be found and be forced to set their enslaved people free. These deliberate acts are often glossed over when the holiday is discussed but should be recognized as last ditch efforts to preserve slavery for personal gains.

I hope everyone takes the time to think about how this holiday can help shape further discussions surrounding race.


One thought on “It’s Juneteenth!

  1. Thanks for sharing Derek and your urge to discuss the questions posed. Definitely leaves me thinking, especially with this statement – “It is worth discussing why there are so many degrees of freedom when it comes to the enslaved.”

    I continue to learn more about our history with the help of your resources and others, and I look forward to keeping that statement above in mind. Thank you!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: