Juneteenth 2021

Juneteenth. Freedom Day. Jubilee Day. Liberation Day. The longest-running African-American holiday. A symbolic day that commemorates the end of slavery. And now, a federal holiday.

Juneteenth celebrations date back to 1866 with three goals:

to CELEBRATE,
to EDUCATE,
to AGITATE 1

The work of justice, racial equity, and true freedom remains unfinished and these goals still ring true today.

EDUCATE
It was on June 19, 1865, that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas, with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free

Note that this was 2.5 years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, which had become official on January 1, 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on the Texans, due to the minimal number of Union troops to enforce the new Executive Order.

With the surrender of General Lee in April of 1865 and the arrival of General Granger’s regiment, the forces were finally strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance. 

CELEBRATE
This year, in cities across the country, people are gathering to reflect and rejoice!⁣ If you are looking for ways to celebrate this year in Memphis, here is a list of local Juneteenth events.

AGITATE
MTR will continue working to agitate an academic construct that is not fully meeting the needs of students. We will continue seeking to evoke public concern and bring awareness to the lack of Black history integrated within the curriculum and academic instruction of our schools.⁣

“At the moment, Black history knowledge required by the curriculum is often additive and superficial. In many ways, we teach about Black history and not through it. The voices and experiences of Black people have often been silenced in favor of the dominant Eurocentric history curriculum.” -Dr. LaGarrett King⁣

We challenge and encourage all educators to pause and intentionally plan to integrate Black history into their academic instruction throughout the entire year.⁣

Here are some supports and resources that will help:

Equal Justice Initiative eji.org
Facing History & Ourselves facinghistory.org
Learning for Justice learningforjustice.org
Urban Intellectuals urbanintellectuals.com

 1Hume, Noah; Arceneaux, Janice (2008). “Public Memory, Cultural Legacy, and Press Coverage of the Juneteenth Revival”. Journalism History34 (3): 155–162.