The Heritage Foundation’s The Daily Signal posted an interview with Dr. Lucas Morel on why Juneteenth is a uniquely American holiday.
Dr. Morel, the head of the Politics Department at Washington and Lee University, said Juneteenth is a “commemoration of emancipation but it’s a peculiar one…” Emancipated slaves in Texas didn’t hear about the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, but on June 19, 1865, when commanding general of the Texas District Gordon Granger announced the news from his headquarters, in black churches, and other locations.
“So better late than never, that’s for sure,” Dr. Morel said. “And the lateness I should hasten to add was because there weren’t many Union soldiers, there weren’t many Union troops in the latter part of the war in Texas. That was the furthest, maybe not the furthest, but one of the furthest reaches for the war effort and so word just simply didn’t get to them.”
Dr. Morel said he doesn’t want Juneteenth to be equated with the Fourth of July or viewed as a day for only black Americans.
The last thing we need right now in this country in 2020 for crying out loud is more occasions for division, separation, distinctions of some groups of citizens over and against others. That’s a fundamental contradiction to the self-evident truth that all men are created equal.
We need to do more to emphasize what we have in common, not these superficial things that we have that are different. …
I guess I would say, in short, unless we understand Juneteenth as directly connected to July Fourth, understood within the context and background of making the promise of July Fourth a reality for all Americans, I don’t think it would be especially productive. That’s my take on it.
Listen to the full interview here.