Today, June 19, 2020, Governor Roy Cooper proclaimed Juneteenth in North Carolina, the oldest known celebration honoring the end of enslavement in the United States.
It was on this day in 1865, more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, that Union General Gordon Granger proclaimed the end of slavery in Galveston, Texas. This authorized United States Colored Troops to enforce emancipation and ultimately the 13thAmendment in that state, just as they had been in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.
“Juneteenth is a reminder that even 155 years after the last slaves were notified of their freedom, we must still fight together for change and champion racial equity. I am committed to making our education, economic, criminal justice, and healthcare systems equal and fair,” said Governor Cooper.
Despite gaining their freedom, newly freed Black men, women, and children were met with brutality, socio-economic racism, and domestic terror. Throughout history, people have fought these systemic injustices and are, yet again, demanding an end to white supremacy and racial inequality in America.
Acknowledging the progress that still must be made in North Carolina, Governor Cooper created the Andrea Harris Social Economic Environmental Health Disparities Task Force to address longstanding, intersectional racial disparities. He also established the North Carolina Task Force for Racial Equity in Criminal Justice to end racially discriminatory law enforcement practices and promote a more equitable criminal justice system.
Juneteenth gives all North Carolinians an opportunity to celebrate freedom and honor those who have fought bravely for it from Abraham Galloway, George H. White and Ella Baker to all Freedom Fighters spanning many generations. It is an important reminder to confront racial injustices ingrained in society and commit to working for a better future. Watch Governor Cooper’s video honoring Juneteenth.
Read the proclamation.