A message from the Chancellor: Juneteenth
This Friday is Juneteenth, a day commemorating the end of slavery. It was June 19, 1865, that Union soldiers arrived in Texas with news that the Civil War had ended and that the slaves were now free. It's vitally important to note that this was 2 1/2 years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, which should have brought freedom to all who were enslaved.
We acknowledge the significance of this day, but we must acknowledge, too, how much work remains to end slavery's abiding legacy of violence, oppression, and injustice.
As Black Americans' liberation struggle continues, Juneteenth can be a reckoning for us, a rededication to the ideals we say are foundational to this nation: equity and opportunity for all. It can be a way to show up for one another, to support one another - to talk about how race shapes our lives, and to share in the joy of emancipation.
Please pause for a moment, reflect on the fight for freedom and equality - then and now - and joyfully celebrate Black history and culture, Black resistance and resilience.
Here are some resources to get us started:
- The Historical Legacy of Juneteenth (National Museum of African American History & Culture)
- Juneteenth: Our Other Independence Day (Smithsonian Magazine)
- What Is Juneteenth? (PBS: This website also hosts The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross, a video series on African American history, culture, and perspectives.)
- First, Listen. Then, Learn: Anti-Racism Resources for White People (Forbes: This article includes an extensive reading list for adults and kids, videos, and movies on race and racism.)
- How to Talk to Your Kids About Anti-Racism: A List of Resources (PBS Social)
I know this spring and summer have held a hard lesson for many of us. On Juneteenth, I hope we vow to keep learning. I hope we vow to confront - fully and finally - the pain and indignity that slavery has left behind.
Jay A. Perman
University System of Maryland