THE FREEDMEN OF U.S. SLAVERY

Frederick Douglass gave this speech on July 4th, 1852.


​"What to the Slave is the 4th of July?"

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Emancipation Day is Juneteenth

June 19th is the Black 4th of July 

Juneteenth - is the oldest known celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States, and dates back to 1865.

It was on June 19th 1865, Union soldiers led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with General Order 3 proclaiming the war had ended and that all slaves were now free. When the slaves learned that President Lincoln had delivered his Emancipation Proclamation ending slavery, they dropped their tools and began to praise God and celebrate.

News traveled so slowly in those days that Texas did not hear of Lincoln's Proclamation, which was delivered on January 1, 1863, until June 19, 1865, more than two years after it was issued.

The proclamation declared "that all persons held as slaves" within the rebellious states "are, and henceforward shall be free." Thus, the Emancipation Proclamation was limited in many ways. It applied only to states that had seceded from the Union, leaving slavery untouched in the loyal border states. It also expressly exempted parts of the Confederacy that had already come under Northern control. Most important, the freedom it promised depended upon Union military victory.

Blacks do celebrate the Fourth of July in honor of American Independence Day, but history reminds us that blacks were still enslaved when America gained independence in 1776.


Although Juneteenth has been informally celebrated each year since 1865, it wasn't until June 3, 1979, that Texas became the first state to proclaim Emancipation Day (Juneteenth) an official state holiday. But it is much more than a holiday. Juneteenth has become a day for African Americans to celebrate their freedom, culture, and achievements. It is a day for all Americans to celebrate African American history and rejoice in their freedom. All 50 states in America should recognize Juneteenth Day (June 19th) to acknowledge Black freedom.

​​Juneteenth is June 19th 

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