Conservative commentator Anthony Brian Logan spoke about the history of Juneteenth in front of an audience at the McMinn County Republican Party in Athens, Tennessee. The event was a cookout with Logan as the guest speaker. The first part of the talk goes into a detailed history of Juneteenth and why it’s important. Logan also gave some background of his own life that created the space for him to learn about Juneteenth. The second part of the video features a Q&A segment from the audience.
Juneteenth, in short, is a symbolic celebration of the ending of slavery. Slavery ended at different times in different places. Certain states were able to pass laws that outlawed slavery before they even officially became a state. Other former slave states passed legislation to end it afterward. During the Civil War, however, slavery was still a very big part of American society. Both the Union and the Confederacy had slave states. Abraham Lincoln was elected in 1861, just before the war, as the first Republican President ever. He eventually passed the Emancipation Proclamation. This ordered the states “in rebellion” to free their slaves. This was signed on September 22nd, 1862 and it went into effect on January 1st, 1863.
Large amounts of people think that slavery came to an end when the Emancipation Proclamation passed. This is not at all true. The Emancipation only applied to states in rebellion, meaning the Confederacy. It did not apply to the North. So the five states in the Union that had slaves were free to keep their slaves or voluntarily end slavery at this time. Then, there was the issue of getting the word out to the Confederate states that slavery had ended. There was no high-speed internet, cellphones, pagers, or any such communication device that could relay this message. Even if the message did get to slave states, there was still the matter of enforcing it. Two and a half years later, some slaves had no idea that they had been freed by Abraham Lincoln’s Executive Order.
Here is where Juneteenth kicks off. On June 19th, 1865, Union General Gordon Granger went to Galveston, Texas with Union Soldiers. His mission was to inform and enforce the ending of slavery. His mission was successful and that day became known as a day of freedom in Galveston. The nickname “Juneteenth” was adopted because it is a combination of “June” and “nineteenth”. Juneteenth celebrations started in Galveston then spread throughout the rest of Texas. Later on, especially around the Civil Rights area, Juneteenth celebrations spread across the nation. It is (or was) celebrated infrequently, maybe a little less frequently than “Kwanzaa”.
Juneteenth has come into the limelight recently because of Donald Trump. He was going to hold a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma on June 19th. A handful of “local activists” took umbrage with this announcement. They said a Trump rally on Juneteenth would be a slap in the face because of the Tulsa riots. The problem is that the Tulsa riots happened in Tulsa, Oklahoma.. not Galveston, Texas. And the riots occurred in 1921, not in 1865. But the media took the story and ran with it. Anchors pretended to know what Juneteenth was then proceeded to go on television and make up stories as to what it is and what it represents. Geraldo Rivera said that the Emancipation Proclamation was signed on Juneteenth. Joe Biden says the Tulsa riots happened on Juneteenth.
There are certain days in history that are good to know if nothing else but for the sake of history. Juneteenth is one of these days. However, the weaponizing of Juneteenth for political and social purposes is outright disgusting. While making Juneteenth into Federal Holiday was a good gesture started by the Trump administration, the leftist-hijacking of the historical significance of the relevance of the day was nearly immediate. It least in the eyes of many who are tuned in to mainstream popular media and culture. It would be best for everyone if the holiday were left alone and the focus of what happened on that fateful day… remained the focus.