What does Juneteenth commemorate? 19 June 1865 was when General Gordon Granger announced the Emancipation Proclamation in Galveston, Texas. President Lincoln had issued it on 1 January 1863, freeing the slaves of the Confederacy. The benefits would not be effective, however, until the Union army defeated Texas leaders. Texas did not fall until almost two months after Appomattox, continues NRO.
Now there is a push to make Juneteenth a national holiday. We are skeptical. Juneteenth was not the end of slavery in the U.S. — that came 6 December 1865, when the 13th Amendment was ratified (thus freeing slaves in the last loyal slave states).
Two freedom festivals in midsummer will tend to compete, and create a fissure, Juneteenth for blacks, the Fourth for everyone else. This would be a double dead end.
The document the Fourth celebrates says, “All men are created equal.” That means all men, and is addressed to all men. Whenever there is backsliding, go to the text.
Happy Fourth, always and forever.
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