‘We Vow To Never Forget…’: Trump Releases Statement Recognizing Juneteenth

On June 19th, otherwise known as “Juneteenth,” many people across the United States celebrate what is considered as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day. On that day in 1865, soldiers of the Union army were led by Major General Gordon Granger to Galveston, Texas with one mission in mind: to announce the freedom of enslaved people.

Two years prior, former President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation freed these people. But, not all communities in the South were abiding by it, specifically lands not yet conquered back by the Northern armies.

President Trump released a statement on Tuesday morning commemorating the day.

“Melania and I send our best wishes to those celebrating Juneteenth.,” Trump said in a statement before sharing a brief synopsis on the date.

“On this day in 1865, Major General Gordon Granger of the Union Army arrived in Galveston, Texas, to declare the end of the Civil War and issue a long-awaited order freeing the remaining slaves in Texas. Although President Abraham Lincoln had issued the Emancipation Proclamation more than two years earlier, the freedom of most slaves depended on the advancement of the Union Army, which brought with it enforcement of the Proclamation. In Texas, General Granger’s order was a major step in our Nation’s effort to abolish slavery forever.,” Trump continued.

And, “This historic moment would not have been possible without the courage and sacrifice of the nearly 200,000 former enslaved and free African Americans who fought for liberty alongside more than 2 million Union servicemen. These brave individuals fought to defend the God-given rights of those unjustly held in bondage.”

“As a Nation, we vow to never forget the millions of African Americans who suffered the evils of slavery. Together, we honor the unbreakable spirit and countless contributions of generations of African Americans to the story of American greatness. Today and every day, we recommit ourselves to defending the self-evident truth, boldly declared by our Founding Fathers, that all people are created equal,” the president concluded.

Here’s more on the date, per MSN:

There is no one reason why there was a two and a half year delay in letting Texas know about the abolition of slavery in the United States, according to Juneteenth.com. The historical site said some accounts place the delay on a messenger who was murdered on his way to Texas with the news, while others say the news was deliberately withheld.

Despite the delay, slavery did not end in Texas overnight, according to an article by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. originally posted on The Root. Gates said after New Orleans fell, many slavers traveled to Texas with their slaves to escape regulations enforced by the Union Army in other states.

The slave owners were placed with the responsibility of letting their slaves know about the news, and some delayed relaying the information until after the harvest, Gates said.

And, from Fast Company:

Juneteenth marked a turning point in the fight to free fellow humans from the bonds of slavery, and African Americans in Texas celebrated it as a day of freedom. There were other options for an official holiday marking the end of slavery, including September 22, which was the day in 1862 when Lincoln issued his preliminary Emancipation Proclamation Order on January 31, the date the 13th Amendment passed Congress in 1865 and officially abolished the institution of slavery. However, it was Juneteenth that stuck.

In 1979 Texas became the first state to make Juneteenth an official holiday. Now the day more widely represents the emancipation of enslaved African-Americans.

While it’s not an official national holiday, Juneteenth is now a state holiday or a day of observance in most states and the District of Columbia, with only Hawaii, Montana, New Hampshire, and the Dakotas holding out. For those that do celebrate, parades will take place around the country, including in New York, Texas, and Philadelphia, and communities across the country will host barbecues and picnics to celebrate the historic event.

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