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Juneteenth 2020

Friday, June 19, 2020 - 10:07am
By:
Alan Flurry

The 155th anniversary of the holiday commemorates the end of slavery in the United States:

From its Galveston, Texas origin in 1865, the observance of June 19th as the African American Emancipation Day has spread across the United States and beyond.

Today Juneteenth commemorates African American freedom and emphasizes education and achievement. It is a day, a week, and in some areas a month marked with celebrations, guest speakers, picnics and family gatherings. It is a time for reflection and rejoicing. It is a time for assessment, self-improvement and for planning the future. Its growing popularity signifies a level of maturity and dignity in America long over due. In cities across the country, people of all races, nationalities and religions are joining hands to truthfully acknowledge a period in our history that shaped and continues to influence our society today. Sensitized to the conditions and experiences of others, only then can we make significant and lasting improvements in our society. 

General Order Number 3

One of General Granger’s first orders of business was to read to the people of Texas, General Order Number 3 which began most significantly with:

"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 rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired laborer."

Juneteenth has perhaps never been as widely celebrated as it is being today, and we welcome that embrace of the human spirit, perseverance, and the renewed determination to live up to our ideals. The courage to reckon with our history holds great power in a free society to liberate itself from the past, to fulfill our promise and move forward with concrete actions as a true commonwealth. This Juneteenth rings with great possibility, and we are moved by its unmistakable tone of equality and security for all Americans.

Image: Seattle Times, June 14, 2020

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