“If this part of our history could be told in such a way that those chains of the past, those shackles that physically bound us together against our wills could, in the telling, become spiritual links that willingly bind us together now and into the future—then that painful Middle Passage could become, ironically, a positive connecting line to all of us whether living inside or outside the continent of Africa …”
Author, teacher, and activist Tom Feelings describes the historical context eloquently in “The Spirit of Juneteenth,” a day which commemorates the abolition of slavery in the U.S. On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers landed in Galveston with news that the war had ended and the enslaved were free. President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, which became official two and a half years earlier, had been delayed in reaching the south due to the limited number of Union troops to enforce it. Today, 47 states have declared it a state day of observance.
As we continue to champion equity for our students and beyond, KIPP Texas will recognize June 19 as a permanent company holiday and an opportunity for our entire Team & Family to celebrate the rich contributions of African-Americans. Today it resonates more than ever as the events of the past few weeks have unfolded in our nation. Following are a handful of resources that may enrich your understanding of Juneteenth and African-American history in the U.S.
Black lives matter.
- 12 Things You Might Not Know About Juneteenth, by Stacy Conradt
- Free At Last, a poem, by Sojourner Kincaid Rolle
- Juneteenth, a Ralph Ellison novel
- Article on slavery reparations, USA TODAY Ta-Nehisi Coates
- Celebrations across Texas
- Central Texas Juneteenth: Stay Black and Live virtual celebration, June 19
- Houston’s Emancipation Park Conservancy virtual celebrations, June 16-19
- Dallas’ Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center hosts a drive-thru celebration Friday, June 19, 10 a.m. to noon. Attendees will receive free non-perishable food and household products.
- Juneteenth Fort Worth: celebrations throughout June
- San Antonio’s Juneteenth Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/JuneteenthSATX/