Emancipation Proclamation Celebration -- Juneteenth

Emancipation Proclamation Celebration -- Juneteenth

January 1, 1863 was a significant date for a young America. Embroiled in the midst of the Civil War, which began 150 years ago this year, President Abraham Lincoln on Sept. 22, 1862 issued his Emancipation Proclamation – it took effect on the first day of 1863.

It was a powerhouse of a political maneuver. With a signature, according to Jim Schmick of the Civil War and More Bookshop in Mechanicsburg, Penn., Lincoln reiterated to the seceding states that he was still their executive leader. He sabotaged the Confederate states’ hold over their slaves, and claimed and legislated the growing moral stance against slavery (although it didn’t apply in the same way to Union states that still enjoyed slaves).

Black communities today still celebrate Juneteenth on June 19 in remembrance, guided by the principle put eloquently by poet Emma Lazarus: “Until we are all free, we are none of us free.”

Haulcy-Robinson writes in an email: “We African-Americans have embraced Juneteenth as America’s second Independence Day.”
“I’ve been to Juneteenth all my life,” she says. “Oakland, San Jose, my husband’s hometown of Waco Texas. A lot of African-Americans don’t know about it; it’s not taught in history books. You have to be culturally raised in it.”

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