As you may have seen this month my social media platforms have been full of vivid and vibrant Juneteenth and Unapologetically Black hats. Which raises the question. Alexis, why all the Juneteenth Hats?
With President Joe Biden's signing of the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law, here is some insight on the history of it.
"Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. On June 19, 1865, a Union General rode into Galveston, Texas to announce that the Civil War had ended, and slaves had been freed. Though the Emancipation Proclamation became law in January 1863, it could not be enforced in places still under confederate control. It took over 2 years for approximately 250,000 Texan slaves to learn their freedom had been secured by the government.
While Juneteenth has become a prominent Emancipation Day holiday, it commemorates a smaller moment that remains relatively obscure. It doesn’t mark the signing of the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation, which technically freed slaves in the rebelling Confederate states, nor does it commemorate the December 1865 ratification of the 13th Amendment, which enshrined the end of slavery into the Constitution. Instead, it marks the moment when emancipation finally reached those in the deepest parts of the former Confederacy.
In many ways, Juneteenth represents how freedom and justice (or the lack thereof) in the US has always been delayed for black people. The decades after the end of the war would see a wave of lynching, imprisonment, and Jim Crow laws take root. What followed was the disproportionate impact of mass incarceration, discriminatory housing policies, and a lack of economic investment. And now, as national attention remain focused on police brutality and racial profiling, it is clear that while progress has been made in black America’s 150 years out of bondage, considerable barriers continue to impede that progress."