On June 19, 1865, enslaved African Americans in Texas were told they were free. This was two years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863.

A century and a half later, people across the U.S. continued to celebrate June 19, ‘Juneteenth’. The day, also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Emancipation Day, and Black Independence Day, became a federal holiday in 2021.

This year, my hope is by sharing this now recognized Freedom Day National Holiday, one our GU mixed race team is looking forward to celebrating as a ‘day off’ from work, that GU Blog readers will learn how this “we chose to forget to tell you Slaves in Galveston Texas you were Freed two years earlier,” affected ‘Colored’ people then, and still, affects the lives of ‘Black’ people today.

I recall talking with my Grandmother Savanna back in the late 60’s about being Black. In her day and age, saying you were ‘Black’ was not a word used by her generation. She said “Boy – I’m Colored, not Black.”

I realized my grandmother’s pride and mine were the same, just of a different era in time. Juneteenth is a celebration of being told late that you were Free from being enslaved.

My objective is to share this piece of American history with our readers and provide some insight to help open their minds in an appreciation that the “truth will set you free.” Know too another truth, that all Men and Women regardless of our national origin or race are truly created equal.

As Rev. Martin Luther King said in his speech to our nation, “Free at last, Free at last, thank God Almighty we are Free at last!”

Randall Venerable

For more information on Juneteenth, visit https://www.nytimes.com/article/juneteenth-day-celebration.html

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