Juneteenth: A perfect day to cheer Black success

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On Monday, America observes its second Juneteenth national holiday. Some people will use the occasion to focus on the severe pain and death that slavery inflicted on Blacks in the South between 1619 and 1865. It would be far more useful, however, to celebrate so much that Black Americans have accomplished since the original Juneteenth liberated the last of some 4 million emancipated slaves.

That joyous day arrived on June 19, 1865. Having vanquished the Confederacy that April, victorious Union Army soldiers arrived at Galveston, Texas. They encountered that final group of slaves who had yet to learn that the South had fallen. 

More important, the men in blue uniforms read General Order No. 3 to people who, until then, were private property: “All slaves are free.” Henceforth, these Black men, women, and children belonged to themselves, not others.


Republican-led Reconstruction efforts initially offered Blacks much hope. Some former slaves represented the South in Congress.

In this June 19, 2020 file photo, fireworks explode during Juneteenth celebrations above the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood in the Brooklyn borough of New York. The Manhattan skyline is seen in the background. (AP Photo/John

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