All things history and genealogy.

All things history and genealogy.

Editorial: Better grasp of history can aid dicussion on race

Editorial: Better grasp of history can aid dicussion on race

By The Herald Editorial Board

We’re betting that more than a few of our readers might be a little hazy on the significance of Juneteenth, celebrated on June 19 and marking a significant step in the end of slavery in the United States.
On more than a few points of American history, many Americans, including your author, are in need of a refresher course or two from time to time.
The Juneteenth date doesn’t represent the day that President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation took effect; that’s Jan. 1, 1863; or when the 13th Amendment was adopted and officially ended slavery nationwide on Dec. 18, 1865.
The day it celebrates is specific to Texas; June 19, 1865, marks the arrival of U.S. Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger and his troops in that state with orders to free those still enslaved there. As Afi-Odelia Scruggs, an independent journalist writing recently for The Washington Post explains, following the end of the Civil War, as Union troops retook territory across the South, they emancipated those still held as slaves in the former Confederate states. In fact, the last slaves to be freed in the U.S. were held in Northern states, such as Kentucky and Delaware, and weren’t freed until the 13th Amendment’s adoption.

Scruggs further explains that Juneteenth celebrations haven’t been consistently celebrated over the last 155 years, largely driven underground during the Jim Crow era when segregation made observation of the unofficial holiday difficult, if not dangerous, to observe.

Source: Editorial: Better grasp of history can aid dicussion on race

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