photo credit: Christian Domingues on Pexels.com
In the liberty movement, we’re fond of reminding ourselves and others of the power we have ceded to the government which encroaches upon our rights, our freedom, and our liberties. We fight against authoritarianism, collectivism, and despotism. We sometimes take the freedoms we do have for granted. We sometimes forget that it wasn’t always this way.
Sunday is Juneteenth, the oldest nationally-celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. Although Juneteenth only became a national holiday last year, the celebration of this day goes all the way back to Galveston, Texas in 1866.
On January 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation which freed all enslaved people in the Confederacy. Only Texas did not comply. Slavers continued to hold Africans in bondage in Texas until Major Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston on June 19, 1865 with 2,000 Union soldiers and General Order Number 3 declaring:
“The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. 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.”
The African American community rejoiced immediately and, thus, Juneteenth began.
Juneteenth is the combination of “June” and “Nineteenth.” Texas became the first state to designate Juneteenth as a holiday in 1980. All 50 states and the District of Columbia were observing the day even before President Biden signed a bill in 2021 declaring the holiday an official federal observance. While the paid work holiday will be observed Monday, with closures of state and federal offices, Sunday is the actual anniversary of Major Granger’s delivery of confirmed freedom to enslaved people in the last holdout state.
Juneteenth is a celebration for all Americans.
The South Carolina Libertarian Party recognizes the importance of valuing our American history narrative, even the painful and shameful chapters of it. Juneteenth represents the last page in a dark chapter and reminds us of the fragility of the freedom we so passionately advocate and fight to keep.
Here are some resources to read further about Juneteenth, its history, and significance. There will be Juneteenth events all across South Carolina from Greenville to Hilton Head!
Find Juneteenth celebrations in your area and join in with your neighbors, friends, and family while we write the next chapter of the American story.
Ready to get involved? Click here to find the next meeting for your local SCLP group.
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