Juneteenth Is a Day for Cheer — and Unfinished Business

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This Monday, Americans should recognize their newest federal holiday, Juneteenth, as more than just another three-day weekend.Also known as Emancipation Day, the name blends “June” and “nineteenth”

The date in 1865 when Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, and announced General Order No. 3, declaring freedom for those in bondage in the last Confederate state with institutional slavery.

While pockets of slavery would persist elsewhere, the moment gave rise to what became the oldest African American holiday, with celebrations held as early as 1866.Last year,President Joe Biden signed

The Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, creating a new national holiday and inviting all Americans to reflect on its significance: The day commemorates America’s early efforts to right a tragic

Wrong & challenges the nation to confront the business arising from its original sin. In effect,it asks Americans to reconcile their national aspirations with the reality of persistent inequalities.

As the abolitionist Frederick Douglass noted in the stinging 1852 address commonly known as “What To The Slave is the Fourth of July?,”the revolution of 1776, glorious as it was, had failed to confer

The blessings of liberty on all Americans. After praising the signers of the Declaration of Independence — “they were statesmen, patriots and heroes” — and the freedoms they had secured, Douglass

Added a brutal qualification:What, to the American slave, is your fourth of July? I answer; a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which

He is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless;

Your denunciation of tyrants, brass-fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade

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