Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. 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.
The Emancipation Proclamation, signed by President Abraham Lincoln on 1 January 1863 didn’t ‘free’ slaves.
It took several years and the end of the civil war for the emancipation proclamation to become a reality for hundreds of thousands of enslaved African Americans.
These days, Juneteenth is an opportunity not only to celebrate but also to reflect on our history.