Alex photo for Juneteenth blog post

By: Alexandria McLemore

For Juneteenth, we wanted to share something special that our Foster Grandparents Program Assistant Director, Alexandria McLemore wrote to share with our staff.

“Juneteenth is when chattel slavery officially ended in the United States. On June 19, 1865, enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas were finally freed, albeit two years after Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. It’s a sacred holiday for many Black people, but it’s important to remember that Black people are not monolithic. In truth, there are varying viewpoints in Black communities regarding Juneteenth. After all, is it really worth celebrating a holiday where Black people were given freedom two years too late? Why would we want to celebrate something like that?

I’m only one Black person and I wouldn’t dare presume to speak for all Black people in America. I’m a native Texan, so Juneteenth has been a part of my world all my life, and I’d like to share why I personally choose to celebrate and commemorate Juneteenth.

The way I see it, all of the legal rights and freedoms that blacks have today were given way too late. African Americans have been fighting for legal rights since 1619 when the first enslaved Black people landed in the United States. The Emancipation Proclamation was issued in 1863, but it wasn’t until 1964 that the Civil Rights Act was passed. Truthfully, even in 2024, Black people are still fighting to preserve natural-born rights and freedoms to this very day. Yet, this shouldn’t keep us from celebrating and commemorating the accomplishments and sacrifices that Black people have made to survive and advocate for a better world.

So for me, Juneteenth is about much more than celebrating freedom that came two years too late, although that is an undeniable part of the holiday. It is also about Black people’s resilience in the face of unbelievable circumstances. Indeed, Juneteenth truly illustrates that age-old adage of how Black people have always “made a way out of no way.” Additionally, in a time when too many in our country are actively seeking to erase Black history, the Juneteenth holiday fosters a collective memory of the brutality of chattel slavery, while also promoting a collective memory of the will and resolve of African Americans to build communities and live meaningful lives even in the face of brutality and horror.

For me, Juneteenth will forever remain a symbol of hope and survival.”

Post summary

Honoring Juneteenth with Reflection and Learning

Juneteenth, observed annually on June 19th, commemorates the day in 1865 when General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, and announced the end of slavery. This pivotal moment occurred over two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued on January 1, 1863, highlighting the prolonged struggle for freedom faced by many enslaved African Americans. Juneteenth symbolizes the end of slavery in the United States and represents a critical chapter in American history that underscores the resilience and perseverance of the African American community.

In recognition of Juneteenth, we are pleased to share a heartfelt message from Alexandria McLemore, our Foster Grandparents Program Assistant Director. Her reflection offers a personal and powerful perspective on the significance of this day. Alexandria emphasizes the importance of acknowledging Juneteenth not only as a historical event but also as an opportunity for continuous learning and engagement in the ongoing fight for equality.

Juneteenth is more than a celebration; it is a call to remember and educate. It provides a moment for us to honor the legacy of those who fought for freedom and to reflect on the enduring impact of systemic racism. By understanding this history, we can better appreciate the progress made and recognize the work still necessary to achieve true racial equity.

At The Senior Source, we strive to foster an inclusive environment where the contributions of all individuals are recognized and valued. We encourage everyone to engage in Juneteenth by participating in educational events, supporting Black-owned businesses, and advocating for policies that promote justice and equality.

Let us use this day to educate ourselves, engage in meaningful dialogue, and reflect on how we can contribute to a society where freedom and equality are genuinely realized for all.

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