Enslaved people didn’t learn of President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation until June of 1865, a full 2.5 years after its effective date of January 1, 1863. There are many explanations for this delay but they all boil down to one thing: holding power over people by limiting their access to information. Juneteenth celebrates the news reaching the individuals and families whose lives it changed. The lesson for advocates is clear: Ask questions. Support those who press for answers. Act on the information they provide. Information is power.
Photo: Parade in Richmond, VA for Emancipation Day, April 3, 1905. Source: Virginia Commonwealth University Libraries.
June 19 – Juneteenth or Emancipation Day is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the U.S. Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free.
A relevant lesson on the Zinn Education Project website is: “Teaching a People’s History of the Abolition Movement “http://bit.ly/15jZK4p