Juneteenth is the July 4th for the African American Community

By Cheryl Coleman

For many slaves in 1865, the Civil War came to close and they still had no idea they were free. The message of enslaved African Americans’ freedom was slowly shared state to state. If you were located far from Union armies, you continued to live life as if freedom did not exist. This was especially the case in Texas. On June 19, 1865, a Union General Gordon Granger informed the last group of slaves, nearly two years after they had been officially declared free, about their freedom..

Juneteenth is known as the most popular celebrated emancipation day from African Americans because it represents when the last slaves from the deepest parts of Confederate states learned of their freedom. With the obvious delay in freedom and justice for African Americans, even with Jim Crow laws following the war, many black people in the US have chosen to celebrate Juneteenth to show power against the opposition. With modern day systematic oppression, racial bias in laws, and policies across America, Juneteenth is becoming better known.

The younger generation may not have experienced lynching as black people did in the 1800s/1900s, but there is still widespread discrimination, false imprisonment, and lack of economic investment. These barriers may still remain until the United States truly faces the history of its people.