This date—June 19th—serves as a special opportunity to recognize, learn, educate, mourn, hope, rally and push reform as America observes Juneteenth. This date was chosen for an annual observance because of the historical importance of June 19, 1865, in the United States’ journey to making one of its founding principles—“All men are created equal”—true.
You might have seen photos or videos in news coverage as people across the nation gathered to bring attention to the important day and remind us all how far the United States must go to make that ideal true.
Emancipation Proclamation – 1862
President Abraham Lincoln signed the initial Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862, which set forth January 1, 1863, as the date when all enslaved people in states rebelling against the Union would be freed. It wasn’t actually “freeing” anyone, at first; rather, it urged the Confederate states engaged in rebellion to rejoin the Union or instead have their slaves be declared free.
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