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It’s Coming! Juneteenth!

Juneteenth - AMS Fulfillment

Juneteenth - AMS FulfillmentLet’s make an effort to understand what the fairly recent federal holiday, Juneteenth, is all about. On one hand, Almanac tells us that Juneteenth is the oldest-known celebration marking the end of slavery in the United States. The following quote explains it, somewhat [LINK]:

“On January 1, 1863, in the middle of the Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation was issued by U.S. President Abraham Lincoln. It granted freedom to “all persons held as slaves” in 10 Confederate-controlled states. However, for the most part, the order was not enforced until Union soldiers were able to advance into these areas after the end of the war, the beginning of which came in April 1865 with the surrender of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee after the Battle of Appomattox Court House in Virginia.”

So the message is, the slaves were freed except for the places where slavery continued, and the enslaved were not informed that the government had emancipated them. It was two years later that the Union army made it to those states where people were still enslaved, and they informed the enslaved – you are free. Quoting from the article:

“On June 19, 1865, U.S. Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger delivered to the people of Galveston, Texas, General Order No. 3, which read, in part: ‘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.'”

Slavery in the United States was formally abolished on December 6th, 1865, with the ratification of the 13th Amendment.

The Recognition of Juneteenth

The State of Texas was the first to recognize Juneteenth – Emancipation Day – and they did so in 1980. It was 2021 when President Biden signed into law the Juneteenth National Independence Act. The Act established June 19th as a federal holiday.

When Texas made its decision to create a holiday, it was nothing new to the African Americans in Texas. Quoting from the article:

“Early celebrations of Juneteenth included gatherings of former slaves and their descendants in Galveston and throughout Texas. As African Americans were often barred from using public facilities, some groups and individuals pooled their money to purchase land in order to hold these events. One of the most significant and lasting was 10 acres acquired by a group of African-American ministers and businessmen in Houston. This land would become Emancipation Park, which today is the oldest park in Houston, Texas.”

From an article by writer Kris Manjapra, published in Daily Camera [LINK], we gain a little more information:

“The actual day was June 19, 1865, and it was the Black dockworkers in Galveston, Texas, who first heard the word that freedom for the enslaved had come. There were speeches, sermons and shared meals, mostly held at Black churches, the safest places to have such celebrations. The perils of unjust laws and racist social customs were still great in Texas for the 250,000 enslaved Black people there, but the celebrations known as Juneteenth were said to have gone on for seven straight days. The spontaneous jubilation was partly over Gen. Gordon Granger’s General Order No. 3. It read in part, ‘The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.’”

The enslavement of African Peoples is a legacy that all Americans inherit. It is sad and painful to even think about. But, we can turn with gratitude to the work of the Abolitionists and the Civil Rights warriors, and think about them as well. America has been working to correct the wrongs done in its foundation for many years, and we are committed to continue that work with DE&I guiding our hiring, training and promotion of our valued employees. Happy Juneteenth!

“Now I’ve been free, I know what a dreadful condition slavery is. I have seen hundreds of escaped slaves, but I never saw one who was willing to go back and be a slave.” –Harriet Tubman (1820–1913), American abolitionist and political activist.

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AMS Fulfillment is a Certified B Corporation, dedicated to putting People and Planet before profit. We work to B the Change we wish to see in the world.



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