Reflections and resources for Juneteenth 2022

In 2021, the New York State Legislature approved June 19 (Juneteenth) as a state holiday. This year Juneteenth falls on a Sunday and will be observed on Monday, June 20.

The Emancipation Proclamation became effective in January 1863 through the passage of the 13th Amendment of the Constitution, which formally abolished slavery.  However, news of emancipation did not reach the westernmost territories of the United States until June 19, 1865. On that date, 2,000 Union soldiers marched into Galveston Bay, Texas, bringing the news that more than 250,000 enslaved Black people in Texas were now also free.  General Order Number 3, read by General Granger, stated:

The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them, becomes that between employer and hired labor. The Freedmen are advised to remain at their present homes, and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts; and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.”

The celebration of freedom, first named Jubilee Day, became Juneteenth.

Let us reflect upon and honor the millions of African lives and stories lost to slavery.  The historical legacy of slavery is, sadly, sown into our country’s institutions and culture. Racism, white supremacy, and systemic oppression remain realities in America. We need only look to the tragic shooting last month in Buffalo, New York, to see the current impact on our communities. Let us renew our commitment to better understand the truth of our history.

As we reflect, we can and should recognize the celebration of Juneteenth as an important element of Black history, a history that certainly includes slavery and its legacies but is also rich with oral histories, scientific contributions, music, cuisine, and art. These dimensions are reflected, although not credited as they should be, throughout American culture.

Below are some resources to learn more about Juneteenth as well as local and statewide events or celebrations:

The Historical Legacy of Juneteenth

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

Diversity and Inclusion Books and Other Resources

Elting Library Events


Haverstraw African American Connection

Historic Huguenot Street, Family Day Free Admission

Hudson Library

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