Today, June 19th, we celebrate Juneteenth as a National Holiday—and justly so. This is the holiday celebrates that, in June 1865, Union soldiers reached the last enslaved Americans in Galveston, Texas, with the news that slavery had been abolished and that they were now free.
The abolition of slavery, an evil institution that American inherited at its Founding, is a major cause for celebration and among America’s finest hours. The day the last slaves were liberated certainly rises to the level of deserving of a national holiday. But it must be remembered that the principles of the American Founding made possible the end of slavery. If not for the Fourth of July, we’d have no Juneteenth. Professor Jason D. Hill, author of We Have Overcome, aptly calls the abolition of slavery America’s Second Founding.
By all means, celebrate Juneteenth, also known as Emancipation Day. But put it on a par with Constitution Day, which celebrates the document that Frederick Douglass called “a glorious liberty document.” Like The U.S. Constitution, Juneteenth owes its existence to the Declaration of Independence and the philosophy behind it.
It’s a damn shame that it took almost a Century for the promises of the Declaration of Independence to reach all Americans of African descent. But it did, finally erasing America’s most glaring birth defect.
A New Textbook of Americanism — edited by Jonathan Hoenig
On Juneteenth, Let’s Celebrate the Atlases of Abolition by Jon Hersey for The Objective Standard
WHAT SHALL BE DONE WITH THE SLAVES IF EMANCIPATED? By Frederick Douglass' Monthly, January, 1862
What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July? by Frederick Douglass | July 5, 1852