Reflecting on Our Nation’s History This Juneteenth
Today is Juneteenth, a holiday that marks the legal end of American slavery 155 years ago – and the end of one of the darkest, most brutally unjust chapters in our history. Often called the “second Independence Day” or “Freedom Day,” this important holiday pays tribute not only to African American freedom from enslavement, but to the incredible achievements and contributions of the African American community throughout our nation’s history.
Although slavery officially ended in the United States with the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, it could not be implemented in areas that still fell under Confederate control, as the Civil War was still raging throughout the South and Southwest. It wasn’t until June 19, 1865, that Union troops arrived on the shores of Texas and announced that the 250,000 remaining slaves in that state were legally free by executive decree.
Over the years, this date came to be known and celebrated as “Juneteenth,” with parades, festivals, and gatherings held across the country. Tate Law Group is proud to join in this tradition of celebration today, and we also wanted to honor the origins of this important holiday by sharing some resources. We wish everyone a safe and fun time celebrating today!
Further resources for reading and reflecting this Juneteenth:
- The History and Meaning of Juneteenth – Today’s episode of the Daily podcast from the New York Times
- Why celebrating Juneteenth is more important now than ever – An interview with Karlos Hill, professor of African and African-American studies at the University of Oklahoma
- Freedom Day: What the Juneteenth flag symbolizes – CNN article on the symbolism of the Juneteenth flag