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This is why U.S. Christians and all Americans should observe Juneteenth, Jubilee Day, Freedom Day

WASHINGTON, DC: Members of the audience take photos during a Juneteenth concert on the South Lawn of the White House on June 13, 2023.

The White House hosted the concert to mark the nation’s newest federal holiday which was established in 2021. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC: A vendor displays Juneteenth-themed clothing during a neighborhood Juneteenth festival on June 17, 2023. Two years ago, President Joe Biden signed bipartisan legislation establishing Juneteenth as a federal holiday.

Juneteenth commemorates the day on June 19, 1865 when a Union general read orders in Galveston, Texas stating that all enslaved people in the state were free according to federal law. (Photo by Nathan Howard/Getty Images)

Also called Jubilee Day, Emancipation Day, and Freedom Day, Juneteenth should be a celebration for, or at least observed or acknowledged by every Christian and American because it is an opportunity to come together, talk, reflect, repent, heal, promote love, peace, harmony and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Not only would this be a show of Christian unity but a healing of the nation in terms of so-called race and religious relations in the U.S.

Juneteeth became a federal holiday in 2021 but portions of the Black community has long celebrated this day, which points back to June 19, 1865 during the post-Civil War era.

On that date, two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln’s historic Emancipation Proclamation, U.S. Major General Gordon Granger issued General Order No. 3, which informed Texans that all enslaved people were now free.

As the Union Army's commander of the Texas Headquarters District,

General Granger had arrived in the coastal port city of Galveston Bay on June 14 - his troops augmented by Black soldiers including many recently freed slaves.

Granger then announced the Order: an “absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves.”

This order brought the Emancipation Proclamation to life, as the people who once sat in darkness saw the light, learned that the Civil War had ended and that American slavery was no more.

To many Christians, just as God set Israel free from bondage in Egypt, God set African Americans and their seed in America free from slavery. Though they were not called African Americans at the time.

The Civil War, truly a war over slavery, had effectively ended its time in Appomattox, Virginia on April 9, 1865 when Robert E. Lee surrendered his 28,000 Confederate troops to Union General Ulysses S. Grant.

One cannot possibly imagine the amount of vigorous rejoicing that occurred once the Black community in Texas finally learned that

they had been granted freedom.

I first learned about Juneteenth from a University classmate who was from Houston, Texas. Houstonians had been celebrating the day for many years before she told me about it in the mid-1990's.

The city that I lived in had a substantial African American population, but we had never heard of or celebrated Juneteenth as a community - at least not on the scale of other cities.

Juneteenth is special to Christians because African American itinerant pastors, preachers and churches and their abolitionist allies were at the vanguard leading the movement to end American slavery.

For example, the African Methodist Episcopal, African Baptist and other churches and congregations were started by former slaves. And many sympathetic whites ignored the laws and illegally taught slaves how to read, write and gain freedom.

Abolitionists formed anti-slavery organizations, wrote anti-slavery books, newspaper articles, poetry, leaflets, pamphlets, broadsides and in some cases - like John Brown - attempted to free the slaves by armed revolt. Many of the most prominent Abolitionists were also Christians.

The Black community is comprised of Christians, Muslims, Jews, Catholics

and nonbelievers. Yet one and all can find a common cause to celebrate, observe or acknowledge Juneteenth - for the good of the community, nation and the world.

Christians and everyone of all walks of life would do well to follow suit.



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