Hoy es el 19 de Junio, “Juneteenth” como se refiera al Día de la conmemoración de la abolición de la esclavitud en Estados Unidos.
Tomando en cuenta los días de festejos típicos del país–ej. día de la independencia y acción de gracias– Juneteenth siga siendo uno de los dias de conmemoración menos reconocidos de los logros importantes en la historia estadounidense.
Era un día escandaloso y inolvidable, el 19 de Junio, 1865 en que fue anunciado el fin de la esclavitud en el estado de Texas, casi dos años y medio después de que el Presidente Abraham Lincoln firmó la Proclamación de Emancipación en 1862. Por que fue tan atrasado estas noticias?
La Proclamación Emancipación, aunque por escrito dio libertad a los esclavos de los estados del sur de Estados Unidos, muchos amos no la respetaban y era ignorado oficialmente por algunos estados confederados. Por consecuencia casi 800,000 afroestadounidenses no llegaron a estar libres de la esclavitud. Tuvo que pasar la Guerra Civil y la implementación y aprobación de la Decimotercera Enmienda a la Constitución de los Estados Unidos para lograr la abolición de la esclavitud mas o menos total.
El Escritor afroestadounidense Ralph Ellison, conocido por su novela “El hombre invisible” escribió su manuscrito “Juneteenth” y llegó a ser publicada despues de su muerte por el labor de John Callahan y Adam Bradley (mi prof. de los Claremont Colleges).
“El libro cuestiona la fábrica cultural y moral de los Estados Unidos y se trata del dia historico en que el General Gordon Granger desembarcó en Galveston Texas, a traer las noticias de que la Guerra Civil había terminado y de que Lincoln había emancipado los esclavos.
Lo que sería más notable acerca de este evento fue que la Proclamación de Emancipación había sido hecha el 1ero de enero del 1863, casi dos años y medio antes de que Granger llegara a Texas. De esa manera, “Juneteenth” disimula la insinuación de una fecha histórica que resulta tan vaga como imprecisa” (Fuente)
Celebrating social justice for all americans
Article originally published in the HP Journal
The month of June has a special signiﬁcance for most. It marks the beginning of summer and the end of the school year for children and young adults; it is a time when gay pride is celebrated around the world and families gather together to honor their fathers.
June is packed with memorable holidays and celebrations and the commemoration of Juneteenth is often eclipsed by the array of summer festivities that we take part in as nation. The signiﬁcance of this observance deserves much more public attention and media recognition than it is given – as it marks a critical turn in our nation’s history, and a giant leap towards social justice for all Americans.
Juneteenth, also referred to as“Freedom Day” or “Emancipation Day,” commemorates the belated, yet celebrated announcement of the end of slavery in Texas on June 19, 1865.
Although President Abraham Lincoln publicly proclaimed the end of slavery in his Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, a constitutional amendment was needed in order for Congress to ofﬁcially abolish slavery. The necessary legislation – the 13th amendment to the United States Constitution was passed two years later – on February 1, 1865. This law stated that “neither slavery nor involuntary servitude,
except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” The
13th amendment was the most signiﬁcant peacemaking legislation during the Civil War era.
Although slavery was abolished at the end of the Civil War, the news traveled slowly by word-of-mouth and many slave owners in the southern states, including Texas, failed to inform slaves of their right to freedom. Juneteenth commemorates the passage of the good news of freedom to African American slaves. It is a time to reﬂect on our nation’s progress in ensuring justice and liberty for all Americans in the past, and at present.
The passage of the 13th amendment did not come without struggle; it was the result of years of political organizing by abolitionists, civil unrest among African Americans, both enslaved and free, and public dialogue about a civil injustice that was occurring at
massive proportions. Historically, the law to abolish slavery and the celebration of its passage have set the tone for the critical mass processes that occur when society gets tired of injustice.
President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation and his backing of the 13th amendment set an example for the rest of America– that we too can strive for a more just society through civil actions, public dialogue and mass movement. Such social
justice and human rights movements of the 20th century – the Civil Rights Movement, Women’s Suffrage Movement, United Farm Workers movement and the Gay Rights Movement – were inspired by the previous attempts and triumphs in our nation’s
history to seek social justice and equality for all.
Today’s political and social climate is a direct byproduct of the harrowing acts of our ancestors, national heroes and heroines who stood up for social justice and liberty. Because of their belief in a brighter future, where equality and justice could be
sought for all, we have the beneﬁt of nondiscrimination policies in the workforce, the right for all citizens to vote, greater opportunities to pursue higher education and our country’s current president.
During this Juneteenth, let us reﬂect on the immense level of progress we have accomplished as a nation whose foundational principles are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It is also important to remember that it is a continual struggle
to achieve equality and social justice for all in a country where opposing political views and legislation are acknowledged by our Constitution.
The human rights issues of today call for an examination of our nation’s foundational
principles and the steps our predecessors took in order to secure those rights for everyone. The current controversy over Arizona’s immigration law – which grants po-
lice ofﬁcials the right to request proof of U.S. citizenship from anyone under “reasonable suspicion” of being illegal – has been heavily criticized as a form of
racial proﬁling and discrimination.
Likewise, President Barack Obama’s reforms to our nation’s health care system has caused a public outcry, as his attempt to provide health care for all citizens has been criticized as “socialist.” Some believe that America is catching up to nations like Canada and Great Britain in providing its citizens with access to health care.
In celebrating Juneteenth, and the progress that resulted from the abolishment of slavery, it is important that we continue to honor, reﬂect on and learn from the sacriﬁces and contributions that our predecessors have made towards peace, so that we may carry on their legacy for ensuring liberty for all.