By Douglas V. Gibbs
Author, Speaker, Instructor, Radio Host

Juneteenth is a holiday celebrated by the black community.  While the spirit of the holiday commemorates the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, which was the first step towards the final goal of abolishing slavery in America, all of the slaves in the United States did not really achieve freedom until two years later.  While only an executive order, and having no power of law, the Emancipation Proclamation declared slaves in union occupied regions as being free from slavery.  Slavery would be officially abolished in the United States with the ratification of the 13th Amendment December 6, 1865.  Two years after the Emancipation Proclamation, on June 19th, 1865, Federal Troops marched into Texas to inform them the war was over and that slavery had been abolished, giving June 19th as being the date that the last bastion of slavery was abolished, making the date important historically in regards to the end of slavery.

For the black community Juneteenth is a celebration, from a historical perspective.  While no society is ever perfect, or has ever completely rid itself of discrimination, in America blacks live better, richer, and more fulfilled than in any other country in the world.  Opportunity exists for all Americans, if only they are willing to pursue it.

American Lives Matter, no matter who you are.

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