Celebrate Freedom

There are a multitude of stories involving Black history that often go untold.  Last year President Joe Bidden signed legislation designating Juneteenth (the nineteenth of June) as being an official National holiday saying, “I hope this is the beginning of a change in the way we deal with one another.”  Many black people were slaves and even after they were legally declared to be free, their owners or “masters” were still taking advantage of them.  The celebration started with the freed slaves of Galveston, Texas.  Although the Emancipation Proclamation that was issued by President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863 freed the slaves in the South, it could not be enforced in many places until after the end of the Civil War in 1865.  The Civil War ended when Robert E. Lee surrendered the last major Confederate army to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse, Virginia on April 9, 1865.  The slave owners in Texas kept working their slaves after that until Union Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger and his troops arrived at Galveston on June 19, 1865, with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free.  The next year, the now-free people started celebrating Juneteenth in Galveston.  What we are taught shapes us into who we become and understanding history can have a big impact on your life, so even if you see this as a shameful part of American history, it is important that we celebrate it.

Written for FOWC with Fandango – Impact.

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