Happy Juneteenth! Though the Emancipation Proclamation was proclaimed by President Abraham Lincoln on January 1st, 1863, for various reasons that declaration did not reach all parts of the country at once. In the case of Texas, it was not until June 19th, 1865, that the news was announced, 155 years ago today. That day, Union Army General Granger led thousands of federal troops to Galveston, Texas to announce that the Civil War had ended and that enslaved people were now free, Today marks, and should also be recognized as, our country’s second Independence Day. It is recognized as a state holiday or state ceremonial day in 49 of 50 states in the United States. Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. notes: “Of all Emancipation Day observances, Juneteenth falls closest to the summer solstice…the longest day of the year, when the sun, at its zenith, defies the darkness in every state, including those once shadowed by slavery. By choosing to celebrate the last place in the South that freedom touched — reflecting the mystical glow of history and lore, memory and myth…we remember the shining promise of emancipation, along with the bloody path America took by delaying it and deferring fulfillment of those simple unanticipating words in General Granger’s order No. 3 that “This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves.” (The African-Americans: Many Rivers to Cross)
Today marks a day to reflect on the progress that has been made, but also the work that remains to be done. We rejoice in this day and stand in solidarity with the Black community, committed to action and realizing real change at our school and in our world.
Head of School