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FunTimes Magazine


Jun 15, 2022 09:26AM ● By Diamond Jones
Juneteenth flag navy over red horizon and contrasting starburst in center

Juneteenth Flag

There is no sweeter taste than that of freedom. When your freedom is merely a wish or memory, you die a little inside for every moment you are not free. The institution of slavery, which lasted over four centuries, is the cruelty that nearly 60 million African people endured. It is also within this once legal and widely celebrated institution, four million men, women, and children died.

Despite the inclusion of slavery’s history in the American curriculum, few people can visualize the days and nights of the enslaved victims who endured what Dr. John Henrik Clarke describes succinctly as the time when Africans were “torn from their homeland, herded onto ships, and dispersed all over the so-called ‘New World’.” Torn, herded, and dispersed: it is in the unpacking of these verbs where the true crime against humanity is detailed.

 General Gordon Granger and Order No.3 Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

On January 1, 1863 President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing all slaves. However, it wasn’t until two and half years later on
June 19, 1865, that General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas. There, in
one of the most remote parts of the confederate south General Granger read the
Generals Orders No. 3, that stated, “The people of Texas are informed that, in
accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.” Finally, all slaves of the Confederate South learned of their freedom.

Today we celebrate that day, June 19th, or Juneteenth, as the day all African
Americans can rejoice in all of their accomplishments. It is a day to reflect, pray, dance and educate, and celebrate the damaging but remarkable history of Black people in this country. On June 17, 2021 President Joe Biden officially made Juneteenth a federal holiday.