Juneteenth. Freedom Day. Jubilee Day. Liberation Day. The longest-running African-American holiday. A symbolic day that commemorates the end of slavery.
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.
Celebrations date back to 1866 with three goals: “to CELEBRATE, to EDUCATE, and to AGITATE”. Today, in cities across the country, people are gathering to reflect and rejoice!
As we celebrate, we also lament. We lament the continued sufferings of Black people, past and present. We stand in solidarity to advocate for and make decisions to uproot white privilege and enact long-lasting systemic change.
In an act of our celebration at MTR, we are working to agitate an academic construct that is not fully meeting the needs of students. We are 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 are calling all teachers 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
Teaching Tolerance: learningforjustice.org
Urban Intellectuals: urbanintellectuals.com