Editor’s note: This commentary from redefinED guest blogger Denisha Merriweather, director of Family Engagement at the American Federation for Children and founder of Black Minds Matter, appeared Thursday on project forever free.
Saturday is Freedom Day – a day of liberation and celebration for African Americans, establishing their right to design their own lives.
Though President Abraham Lincoln signed an Executive Order—The Emancipation Proclamation— freeing enslaved people on Jan. 1, 1863, it would not be implemented in places still under Confederate control. Those defending the economic institution of slavery strained democracy by committing to resist the president’s ruling.
There is no doubt money catapulted the nation into the Civil War and stiffened social dysfunction long after. Money has always encouraged people to protect unjust institutions, regardless of logic or morality.
Our ancestors yearned and fought for the actualization of their freedom until June 19, 1865, when Union troops marched into Galveston Bay, Texas, proclaiming victory and announcing that all enslaved people were free by executive decree. Juneteenth, as this day came to be known, is a time to celebrate how enslaved African Americans survived and triumphed over hate and insult.
Their fight to flourish and bring hope to future generations has taught us all how to help others gain their freedom from the proverbial institutional slave quarters of today.
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