As Nick noted in his post, June 19 is Juneteenth. Here’s a little deeper dive into its history and significance.

Facts from Dr. Tamika Nunley and Afi-Odelia Scruggs 

On June 19th, 1865, Union general Gordon Granger issued a military order declaring that all the enslaved people of Texas were free. This became their official day of freedom. Slavery had technically been abolished two years earlier by Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, which covered the Confederate states. As Union troops retook territory, they emancipated enslaved people living there. And the orders issued on Juneteenth applied only to Texas. Slavery didn’t end in states like Kentucky  and  Delaware , which hadn’t seceded and therefore weren’t covered by Lincoln’s proclamation, until Dec. 18, 1865, when the 13th Amendment was adopted.

The 13th amendment to the United States Constitution states that “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

Juneteenth has a flag that represents many different symbols. The star represents the star of Texas highlighting where many African Americans finally learned they were indeed free. Red, white, and blue for the African American experience in North America. Many Juneteenth celebrations include red food, which symbolizes many food taken from the West-African traditions. In West African cultures, red is a meaningful color signaling strength. It also symbolizes life and death. West African cultures are largely represented in Juneteenth celebrations because that’s where many enslaved people were taken from. 

The decades following the war became increasingly difficult with the rise of Jim Crow segregation. African Americans who attempted to celebrate Juneteenth faced harassment, beatings, and even death by lynching. 

Juneteenth celebrations largely died out during Jim Crow. Some historians theorize segregation made the holiday too difficult to observe. But they say the civil rights movement brought national recognition to it later. The catalyst was the Poor People’s Campaign, held in the wake of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination in 1968. The effort included a march on Washington and the construction of “Resurrection City,” an encampment meant to draw attention to economic inequality and poverty. The final ceremonies included a Juneteenth celebration.

As Black Americans fight for freedom and justice still, the BLM movement is calling on communities to recognize this day, June 19th, as a national holiday. A time to reflect, learn, and activate resources to empower the Black community. Sign a petition here to make Juneteenth a national holiday.

Friday’s Workout

6 Power Cleans (135/95)
19 Bar Facing Burpees
65 Double Unders

At Home Version
6 DB Power Cleans
19 Lateral Burpees Over DB
65 Double Unders or 130 Singles

At Home No Equipment Version
6 Tuck Jumps
19 Burpees
65 Mountain Climbers

1 thought on “More on the History of Juneteenth

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