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Juneteenth celebrates the emancipation of slaves

Posted at 5:20 PM, Jun 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-19 17:20:24-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The buying and selling of human beings for free labor. Slavery was a dark time in American history and many are celebrating its end Wednesday.

June 19,1865 or Juneteenth, is an important date in African American history.

"Juneteeth was when the last group of slaves in Galveston, Texas, learned that they were free," said Dr. Nashid Madyun, Director of Meeks-Eton Black Archives at Florida A&M University.

But why do we celebrate the end of slavery in June 1865 when The Emancipation Proclamation was signed by Abraham Lincoln in September 1862 to go into effect on the first of 1863? That's a two year gap.

Well in those days, communication didn't travel quickly, and for some, there was no rush to get the word out.

"It was not an immediate necessity to communicate to some states or those states still in the Confederacy," said Dr. Madyun. "A reluctance to give up that freedom. That free labor. Acknowledging slavery was over -- meant free labor was gone."

Whether you celebrate on June 19 or May 20, Dr. Madyun says the day is symbolic in our modern times.

"It symbolizes Wake up. Is he woke? Is she woke? Are they work? Are you enslaved to oppression? The institutions you are in? Are you ready to step out," said Dr. Madyun.

There are Juneteenth celebrations going on Wednesday night in Tallahassee:

  • The Juneteenth Awards are from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Tallahassee Community College Student Union Ballroom. For tickets call 850-274-9301.
  • Working Class Wednesday is having a celebration from 6:00-9:00 pm at the Pavilion at the Centre of Tallahassee. For more information, check out the group's Facebook page.