What Does June 19, 1865 Mean To This Blackman?
What does June 19, 1865 mean to me as an African American who understands the struggles of our race in this nation? Not a damn thing. Why should it have a meaning because it enforces a lie that freedom and jubilee somehow occurred when the news finally arrived in Galveston, Texas that slavery ended when Robert E. Lee’s Army of the Virginia surrendered to Ulysses Grant’s troops at the Appomattox Courthouse in Virginia, on April 9, 1865. Slavery didn’t end on January 1, 1963 with the Emancipation Proclamation. Nor did slavery end when the states of the new Post Civil War Union ratified the 13th Amendment on December 6, 1865. Slavery certainly did end on June 19, 1865 with the celebration of Juneteenth.
When we allow ourselves to buy into that lie. We now ignore the reality that a more virulent form of slavery was implemented across America in the form of Jim Crow slavery. This slavery stole our ancestors lives,stole our ancestors wealth, and created two distinct America’s one was white and prosperous and the other was a black America still chained in bigotry and chains. So, when I hear political parties saying they will make Juneteenth a National Holiday. I cringe because this does no justice to our ancestors who suffered blatant racism, murderous violence, and economic oppression for a century after our supposed day of jubilee. Don’t give me factious holiday. Cut ten’s of millions of checks on June 19. Then we can celebrate. Otherwise, know this I and others like me know savagery of the oppression our ancestors faced after June 19, 1865. So simply to this give our communities the reparations we deserve.