Juneteenth: Our experts can explain the history, meaning and truth behind this historic momentJune 10, 20192 min read
Most will know that Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863. It’s taught in schools and is even part of the Disney experience. But fewer know or are even taught that it took more than two and a half years before a large number of enslaved people even knew they were free.
It’s an astounding and sad part of our collective history that is finally being told on a broader platform. It wasn’t until June 19, 1865, that many enslaved people were finally told they were free.
What followed was by no means a celebration or easy life for those slaves who were finally broken from the bonds of their owners. They faced lynching, murder, violence and what would be more than 100 years of segregation and discrimination.
Across the country, the day will be recognized with various forms of reflection and celebration. Though Texas was the first state to recognize Juneteenth as a state holiday, it meant only partial staffing was required and most government offices and agencies stayed open. Across the country, more than 40 states operate in similar fashion.
- As America reconciles with its past – is it time Juneteenth was given more attention?
- Are children taught about the hard and painful journey most African Americans had to take between now and when they were set free?
- Does it need to be recognized as a national holiday?
- What do our educators and legislators need to do to make sure Juneteenth is known on a wider scale?
There are a lot of questions to be answered – and that’s where the experts from Augusta University can help.
Professor Seretha Williams is an expert in Africa and African Diaspora, Digital Humanities, and Digital Publication. She is available to speak with media regarding Juneteenth – simply click on her icon to arrange an interview.
Seretha Williams Professor of English
Professor Williams is an expert in Africa and African Diaspora, Digital Humanities, and Digital Publication.