UNIVERSITY NEWS | Annette Gordon-Reed, a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and Harvard professor, reflected recently on Juneteenth: “It reminds people that the sort of vaulting and high ideals of the Declaration of Independence about equality, the equality of mankind, were not in operation and that it took war and Civil War amendments to bring all of this to fruition. And we’re still working on it right now.”
In alliance with the deepening, nationwide social justice consciousness and restoration work we have to do, and in recognition of the fraught U.S. history in its unjust treatment of Black Americans, President Timothy Law Snyder, Ph.D., instituted Juneteenth as a paid university holiday, to be celebrated this year on Friday, June 18.
Juneteenth marks the date, June 19, 1865, also called Freedom Day or Jubilee Day, that the Union Army soldiers, led by Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas, with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were freed. Note that this was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. The website juneteenth.com has more background and resources.