Juneteenth: Freedom At Last

( piano playing ) (T. Mychael Rambo singing) ♪ This world is one ♪ ♪ great battlefield ♪ ♪ With forces all arrayed ♪ ♪ If in my heart I do not yield ♪ ♪ I’ll overcome someday ♪ ♪ I’ll overcome someday ♪ ♪ I’ll overcome someday ♪ ♪ If in my heart I do not yield ♪ ♪ I’ll overcome someday ♪ (female narrator) Like the Civil War itself, slavery didn’t end with one decisive act. After the Battle of Antietam in September 1862, President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in January 1863. It declared “all persons held as slaves within the rebellious states to be free.” Northern abolitionists welcomed the proclamation as a first step, while southern slave owners ignored it. Ending slavery would take a constitutional amendment, passed in January 1865, Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox in April 1865, the heroism of many enslaved families, and the Union Army itself to personally deliver the news to the most remote corners of the conquered Confederacy. (Rambo) The proclamation that Lincoln signed didn’t find its way into Texas, which is where my father’s family is from, and the Rambo family, until mid-June of 1865. (narrator) On June 19th, Union General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston and personally delivered the news. (as Granger) 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 personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves and the connection heretofore existing between them, becomes that between employer and hired labor. (Rambo) There was a lot of celebration, but there was also a lot of sadness, a lot of concern, a lot of fear. Both enslaved Africans and those who held slaves didn’t know what, really, to do now. As freed Americans, where were we to go? ( laughing ) (narrator) 150 years later, June 19th is a day of remembrance and celebration. (Rambo) I think my first Juneteenth celebration was when was I was six or seven because I remember roasted ears of corn. This was in Austin, Texas. And then coming here, I was surprised and really astounded to find out that Minneapolis, St. Paul have such a strong connection with Juneteenth. It stands to reason, with the number of people who probably migrated this far north who brought with them that tradition. (narrator) Every year in Texas, Minnesota, and around the country, Juneteenth is marked with music, food, and fellowship. (Mary Pargo) We are celebrating at Mississippi Regional Park. It’s all ages here. I just see all kinds of people and colors. ( laughing ) (Lee Jordan) It’s amazing to me that, especially among the African American culture, we have a little bit of a fear of embracing that history, you know, because there’s some shame connected to slavery. I don’t feel that way. I feel that that is such an important part of who I am as a person, the strength that I have within me comes from that struggle. (man 1) African American Independence Day. (man 2) Absolutely. (man 1) We’re celebrating. (man 2) Yup. Our day of liberation. Our day of liberation. (Rambo) It’s important to have opportunities for us to celebrate our oneness, our wholeness, our completeness, our dynamic selves. It’s vital to African American people to have an opportunity, a date, that heralds the importance of who we are as a people and what we’ve been through as a people. (narrator) Juneteenth gives African American communities a chance to reflect on their ancestors’ struggles and achievements and also to spotlight current issues. (Jordan) There is a lot going on in this world. There’s a lot of anger, a lot of frustration, and a lot of uneasiness. The foundation you have can kind of give you a little bit more of a sure footing because you can look and say, “Well, wait, my family made it through through this hatred. Somehow they made it through. So take that strength and go up to the next level. (man 3) To Juneteenth! ( piano playing ) (Pargo) I love seeing the support that I get every year. It’s always new people I’m meeting and, hopefully, collaborating with them so we can have Juneteenth and not let it die. It’s so important. ( music ) (Rambo singing) ♪ If in my heart ♪ ♪ I do not yield ♪ ♪ I’ll overcome someday ♪

18 thoughts on “Juneteenth: Freedom At Last

  • Hey buddy ….Nice Video….Juneteenth what a great celebration of freedom and very important holiday.. i'm glad to be a part of it and to show my kids this celebration also and the meaning of our culture hope you enjoy this vlog here's the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2cLYolp6R8

  • We need something like this in Akron, Ohio. Lived in Texas 30 yrs. and learned/experienced what my parents who where native Texans talked about. Good for everyone's soul.

  • Actually, Black Union Soldiers delivered the message of freedom on June 15th but they could not read the General Order because Blacks was not allowed to read the order; therefore General Gordon was sent to read the General Order on June 19th! This is important because it shows that Black courageous men took important roles in freeing their people. In addition, 180,000 Black men ans women fought in the army and 200,000 more fought in other branches of the military but never received any recognition from the military or through the history books. Black men fought and died for their own independence not Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln freed slaves that was in rebellion against the government. Congress saw that the South was becoming to powerful and wealthy. Moreover, the South was able to count their slaves as three fifth of a human being which would given them more representation in Congress. This would given the Southern Politicians more electoral votes which would have given the power to elect the presidents of the United States. This is the reason Lincoln and the Northern Congress wanted to outlaw slavery. They knew that slavery was power and money for the South to control the United States. Remember, Lincoln owned slaves and many Northern Politicians owned plantations in the south!!

  • After volunteer Royal navy sailors ended the Atlantic slave trade, millions of men volunteered to serve in the Union army and navy to free African Americans from slavery.

  • Thank you for this video. Now I understand. We a re BLACK AMERICANS not African Americans. Africans Americans came here by choice, versus the Black Americans were made a part of the country by force labor'slavery" yes, they fought against he British with the other settlers, which makes them part of the history of 4th of July. Division divides; wars bring close together 07-082019

  • American history is an abomination to human history period! A scavengers story! Anglo Saxons attempt to control the world and hoard the resources! It will only be a foot note in overall history! 500 yrs is short!

  • Thank God this terrible sin in American history was over. The black people have contributed so much to America, in many forms , music was huge, but was suppressed for a time, then in war, they were so important to our victory

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