Editor, The Commercial:
At its heart, Juneteenth is a day of celebration.
Although many people are familiar with the history of Independence Day, Juneteenth remains a holiday that is lesser known. After Independence Day, Black Americans continued to be enslaved for another 87 years. Juneteenth, a holiday celebrated on the 19th of June, commemorates the emancipation of those who had been enslaved in the United States.
The Emancipation Proclamation was issued by President Abraham Lincoln on Jan. 1, 1863. However, the sad reality is that the proclamation did not instantly free all those enslaved, as thousands remained in slavery.
June 19th marks the day that federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, in 1865 to ensure that the enslaved people were freed after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed two years prior. The holiday commemorates the official ending of slavery in the United States.
It's a celebration of the journey and freedom of African American people in the United States, and a great opportunity to acknowledge their many contributions to American culture.
Lafayette Woods Jr.,
Jefferson County sheriff