Juneteenth: When Freedom Finally Came
“NOW IS THE ACCEPTED TIME, NOT TOMORROW, NOT SOME MORE CONVENIENT SEASON. IT IS TODAY THAT OUR BEST WORK CAN BE DONE AND NOT SOME FUTURE DAY OR FUTURE YEAR.”
The U.S. Soccer Federation joins organizations across the country in recognizing Juneteenth as an important day in our country’s history. Juneteenth, now a federal holiday, has gone by several names: Jubilee Day, Freedom Day, Liberation Day. A day that freedom had to be enforced with force. While the Emancipation Proclamation deemed enslaved people legally free in Confederate states, it was the Thirteenth Amendment that ended slavery in the U.S. as national policy.
News of the Emancipation Proclamation that went into effect on January 1, 1863, had not reached certain parts of the country still under Confederate control. Major General Granger read aloud General Order No. 3 on June 19, 1865: “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.”
To African Americans in Texas this day became known as Juneteenth, which until recent years many people in this country were unaware of. This day has steadily grown in awareness and become a part of the fabric of the country’s consciousness. Juneteenth is an opportunity to recognize those who survived an oppressive system and whose freedom was delayed. It’s also an opportunity to celebrate how far we’ve come as a country as well as acknowledge how far we still must go appreciating the milestones along the way.
Our aim in recognizing Juneteenth is to create awareness of the holiday, to drive discussion, and to turn that discussion into action. In this season of change, we strive to do our best work every day encouraging allyship, inclusivity and belonging.
For more information about Juneteenth and to learn more about African American history, click on the links below: