Ah Juneteenth!
Juneteenth has been a federal holiday for only two years or so.  Will this holiday become mired in meaningless activities, talk, and miss some of the fundamental meanings of the holiday like MLK holiday sometimes?  Here is a chance for the NAACP to lead a powerful discussion about Juneteenth as a collective holiday and the second July 4 Independence Day for our country.  But instead of segregating the first July 4th and Juneteenth, our interracial organization brings them together under the extraordinary banner of freedom. June 19, I865 extended freedoms to encompass all; really making these spaces a universal freedom. Juneteenth unites Black slaves and the Union. There would be no modern United States without the union’s victory over the Confederate South. That is how essential this connection is in saving and preserving this great experiment and reality we identify as the United States of America. It is not a holiday only for Black people. How narrow and trapped and separated would its meanings be for us since Juneteenth created yes first freedom for the Back American slave but also simultaneously gave us as Lincoln puts it, “a new birth of freedom.” 
We hope you understand Juneteenth better and start your own rituals and new traditions. A holiday to share with all Americans because in the United States freedom is our mantra. 
  12 Important Things Connected to Juneteenth

1.      THERE were two Emancipation Proclamations that President Lincoln signed. The first one was on September 22, 1862 and the final one on January 1, 1863. The first Emancipation document was a kind of warning to the rebel states of the South. If the rebels didn’t do two things: stop the fighting and rejoin the Union, all slaves would be free. They did not, so President Lincoln issued the final Emancipation Proclamation on January l, 1863 which declared all slaves free.
2.      THE UNITED STATES COLORED TROOPS by the end of the war made up one tenth of all Union soldiers. The influence of many abolitionists, like Frederick Douglass and others, were important in encouraging the President to use Black soldiers. For two years he wavered and gave in to Black requests.  Over 200,000 Back soldiers participated in the Civil War to liberate themselves and to assure the freedom of all property-less Americans no matter what color they were in 1865.
3.      JUNETEENTH is a combination of June and nineteenth.
4.      JUNETEENTH has other names: Jubilee Day, Juneteenth Independence Day, Freedom Day, and Emancipation Day.
5.      GENERAL ORDER NO. 3 posted in public spaces and read sometimes on June 19, 1865 to Texas 250,000 slaves in Galveston and other places that the slaves were henceforth free by Union General Gordon Granger and backed up by over 2,000 soldiers (many were Black soldiers) started the holiday, Juneteenth.
6.      THE FIRST JUNETEENTH CELEBRATION HAPPENED THE NEXT YEAR in 1866 in Galveston, Texas at the Negro Church on Broadway, later renamed Reedy Chapel Methodist Church.  
7.      COLORED FOLKS, NEGROES, AFRO-AMERCANS, NEGROES, whatever at the time they were called them, many left Texas and brought the holiday with them to other parts of the United States. The Migrant Texans brought the holiday toLouisiana, California. Colorado and other Western states. Today, Juneteenth is celebrated in over 200 cities. 
8.      OPAL LEE walked from Fort Worth to Washington, D.C. to help establish Juneteenth as a national holiday by talking to legislators. When she started out, she was 86 (today she is alive and still an activist at 95). She would walk two miles and a half which symbolized the years that the Texas slave did not know he/she was free until the General Order No 3. She is considered the
“Grandmother of Juneteenth.”
9.      TEXAS WAS THE FIRST STATE to recognize Juneteenth by enacting a law in 1980. Several other states enacted some kind of law to recognize it until President Biden in 2021 made it a federal holiday. Opal Lee was there when he signed it into law.  
10.  AFRO-HISPANICS were the first Black people in Texas. They were first slaves brought to Texas by Spanish and Portuguese colonists in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries.
11. JUNETEENTH created the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments. What is historically call, Reconstruction Amendments. The 13th abolished slavery in the United States, while the 14th amendment deals with citizenship and the 15th amendment deals with voting rights. These three amendments were critical for the Black slaves, but later critical for all people of color and women and property-less whites for the future American Nation.
12. THE SLAVE AND THE NATION ARE INEXTRICABLY CONNECTED because the new United States was created by the freed slave and the Union Whites. They were founders of a new nation because they won together the Civil War in America. Juneteenth is called the “Second Independence” or “Second Fourth of July” because the first independence was not equal, American Revolution. We had to have a second revolution, the Civil War, to make us equal in spirit and law. The Africans and the Europeans made something new, extraordinary, and unique in the world.

Where is the Juneteenth in you?

The Anonymous Author