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Juneteenth, Celebrating Freedom

On Wednesday, June 19, 2024, many will celebrate Juneteenth, a federal holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. This holiday marks the day in 1865 when Union soldiers arrived in Texas, the westernmost Confederate state, to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation, which had been issued on January 1, 1863. This pivotal event occurred almost two years after the proclamation took effect. Although this action ended slavery in the Confederate states, it was not until the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment in December 1865 that slavery was completely abolished nationwide.

Juneteenth is Celebrated on June 19th, commemorating the end of slavery in the united states.

While those who had been enslaved were declared free, many found themselves with nowhere to go and no means to purchase necessities. Countless newly free individuals sought to reunite with family members who had been sold away, as enslavers often disregarded the bonds of enslaved families.

Despite their newfound "freedom," African Americans continued to face severe discrimination and struggled for recognition as equal human beings with the same rights as white Americans. Over the years, significant progress has been made, particularly with the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the third such act to be enacted. This legislation was crucial in dismantling segregation, allowing people of color to use the same facilities, dine in the same restaurants, and attend the same schools as whites.

A friend of mine expressed mixed feelings about Juneteenth celebrations. While freedom is undoubtedly worth celebrating, it is also important to remember the struggles that accompanied it—many newly free people had neither homes nor the means to support themselves.

As we celebrate Juneteenth, we must recognize the significant progress made towards equality while acknowledging that the journey is far from over. There is still much work to be done on the path to true equality and achievement for all.


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