I have previously mentioned that the Legislature would be closed today, but I did not mention why exactly. Today is Juneteenth, a day that has been officially recognized as a national holiday since 2021 … but why? 


President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, after two years of fighting the Civil War. This vital document freed the slaves, the major issue at the heart of the southern states’ desire to secede. The freeing of the slaves would effectively cripple the southern states who were largely powered and enriched by slave labor. Many of those now freed slaves would join the northern states’ Union Army in the fight, as the Emancipation Proclamation did not immediately end the war. The final surrender of confederate troops would come after almost two more years on June 2, 1865 in Galveston, TX. 


This location and time are extremely important to today’s “holiday,” Juneteenth. It was just a few days after that last surrender, on June 19th, that the slaves in Galveston, TX would be made aware that they had been freed. Juneteenth is to celebrate that date, when the last of the slaves were made aware of their freedom. Or at least this is the intent. 


Now, over 150 years later, there is disagreement on the celebration of Juneteenth–its intention, its continued recognition, and the response it elicits. 


Rather than celebrating triumph, the freedom fought for through the blood stained Civil War and heralded with the Emancipation Proclamation; it seems to point the finger at white America as the oppressors who utilized the system of slavery to stay in power of black America. 


The vantage point that the secondary thought takes is one rooted in Marxism. Yes, one could say that the confederacy very purposefully did not relay the freedom of the slaves. It is no surprise, however, as they’d yet to surrender their fight. It almost goes without saying that slaves in the very area where the last confederate troop finally surrendered wouldn’t have been aware of their freedom having been declared two years earlier. 


If they were so bent on seceding from the Union and not acknowledging the leadership of President Lincoln, why would they do so regarding emancipation, the very thing they were fighting to prevent? 


Juneteenth is not a recognition of black versus white. It should recognize a triumph of freedom versus slavery. Seeing as the majority of the Union soldiers were white, this does not fit the narrative of the white man at large as the oppressor. 


As you’re reading this, you may have never thought Juneteenth to be a battle cry of the oppressed. It is also quite possible that you have never heard of it altogether. My “setting the record straight” is a letter to the implicit understanding I had growing up as a young black girl. Any mention of Juneteenth at block party celebrations or the like made it feel as if the Emancipation Proclamation was futile. That it held no power against the “evil white man” that used “the system” to keep freedom from slavery a secret for all blacks. I was not aware that only those slaves in Galveston had remained enslaved or that the war had even still been going on. 


This is the Marxist agenda; its central enemy is the truth. It points towards “oppressors,” as those that use systems to stay in power– the inherently evil, while hailing the “oppressed” as inherently good. It thrives on this sort of social conflict rather than seeking unity and peace. The lack of clarity surrounding Juneteenth may merely be a misunderstanding, a convenient incomplete truth. Or it may be a masterfully crafted inaccuracy. Either way, the desired effect still holds–division.


So, you may hear different understandings of Juneteenth’s celebration today. Rather it is from a place of blind support or vehement opposition, we should ultimately recognize it with the following two understandings: 

  1. How we remember and celebrate an event is wholly important to justly portray its significance to future generations. The old stories of yesteryear can either fill us with sober recognition of the past and hope towards continued victorious triumph or weigh us down with angst and perpetuated division. 
  2. It is grossly important to know our rights to fully take advantage of them and not have them thwarted. The slaves in Galveston did not know they were free and so continued to live as slaves. We have many protected rights within our country that are in danger of erosion simply because of complying with an opposing narrative. When our rights are attacked, we stand strong on what we know to be true–simply because we know it. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.”  


If you’re wanting to know more about the issue of Marxism, check out our page on the issue: DelawareFamilies.org/Marxism


Nandi Randolph

Policy Analsyt

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