The Emancipation Proclamation freed enslaved people in Confederate states at the start of 1863, and the 13th Amendment ended slavery across the U.S. almost three years later. In the year between, the news of freedom spread slowly. It was only when the Union Army reached Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865, that an officer read aloud the order “that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free”
Juneteenth commemorates the liberation of thousands of people in Texas that day. In the 155 years since, Juneteenth has been joyously celebrated, solemnly observed and virtually erased, all at the same time. In the conflicting ways that we know our shared history, and how we acknowledge and resolve those differences, lies the liminal lesson of Juneteenth:
What will our next Juneteenth be like?