Updated: Dec 12, 2021
What is Juneteenth? It is short for June Nineteenth. It is also known as Jubilee Day, Freedom Day, Emancipation Day, or Liberation Day.
Abraham Lincoln, 16th US President, issued the Emancipation
Proclamation on January 1, 1893, which freed slaves in the USA. But like most things, change did not happen overnight.
The proclamation was mostly upheld in Union states or states that had a heavy presence of Union Troops. The Union troops helped to carry out the intentions of the Emancipation Proclamation. Because this was loosely upheld in Confederate states, some slave owners took to moving slaves to Confederate states to avoid compliance.
Texas was a safe haven for slave owners to continue using slavery after the Emancipation Proclamation because officials and the low presence of Union troops did not enforce the freedom from slavery Also, Texas was the most remote of the Confederate states.
On June 19, 1865, almost 2 and a half years following the Emancipation Proclamation, an estimated 2,000 Union troops arrived in Galveston, Texas to declare freedom of about 250,000 slaves. The term "Juneteenth" was coined by the slaves as a day of freedom, the second Independence Day in the US.
To mark a permanent change in the function of our Nation, the 13th Amendment was ratified on December 6, 1865. From 1865 through 1877 this became known as the era of great hope. The Black community quickly connected with family, built schools, and sought positions for political office. Not even a generation went by before the African American community was empowered to make a difference that has shaped America into the true Land of Opportunity.
And as current as June 17, 2021, two days ago, 46th US President Joe Biden signed a new law issuing June 19 as Juneteenth National Independence Day, the 11th Federal Holiday.
An Otter Milestone supports Freedom Day (Juneteenth) for all the persistence and the overcoming this holiday represents. Those who sought their freedom kept their eyes forward and their minds positive then they would receive what they wanted. They remained focused on their beliefs, didn't look in the past, and when opportunity presented itself the black community, built themselves up on their own work. This is truly what the spirit of America is; to know what is wanted and to earn it not letting anything deter goals.