Five Towns College Commemorates the Observance of Juneteenth
Giving Meaning . . . to those who we work and live with, serve, and respect:
The Meaning of Juneteenth – Juneteenth is one of America’s oldest unofficial holidays and is observed each year on June 19th to mark the official end of slavery in the United States. The day, which gets its name from combining June and 19, has long been celebrated by black Americans to commemorate the emancipation of enslaved people — but the story behind the holiday, and how Juneteenth got its meaning, started 156 years ago in Galveston, Texas.
The History Behind Juneteenth – On June 19, 1865, Union troops led by General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, to break the news to the last remaining Confederate sympathizers that they had lost the Civil War and all enslaved must be freed.
“The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free,” the Union general read aloud to the residents of Galveston, according to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. “This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired laborer.”
Newly freed slaves celebrated emancipation with “prayer, feasting, song, and dance” and the following year, the first official Juneteenth celebration was born, according to Encyclopedia Britannica.
Look Back, Look Around, Look Within, and Move Forward – Juneteenth is a time to commemorate, celebrate, educate, and reflect on the Black experience in America. By looking back, looking around, and looking within, we are challenged to evaluate the foundations of inequality and move forward together, committing ourselves to the unfinished work of eradicating systemic racism.