Embrace Juneteenth today, and every day

Today is Juneteenth, an important day in Texas and American History. Although President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in January 1863, it was not until the surrender of the Confederate Army in April 1865 that the proclamation freeing all slaves was recognized in the South. The end of slavery was not officially known in Texas until United States Major General Gordon Granger announced the news in Galveston on June 19, 1865.

The “absolute equality of personal rights” announced by General Granger is yet to be fulfilled for Black Americans. The expressions of pain and anger echoing in response to the most recent police killings of Black citizens only underscores the need for all of us to make the ideals and words of the U.S. Constitution a reality for Black Americans.

Traditionally, Juneteenth is a day of family and community celebration – a time to proudly honor African-American history and culture. Please join me in embracing the spirit of Juneteenth today, and every day. Black Lives Matter.

R. Gerald Turner
SMU President