One hundred and fifty-five years ago today, a federal order was read in Galveston TX, declaring that all enslaved people in Texas were free. The news was delivered more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation went into effect on January 1, 1863. Today marks the first time that New York State and CUNY will observe Juneteenth as a state holiday. In Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order declaring this a holiday, it is noted that the day is a “reminder of the hardships and losses suffered by African Americans in their struggle to attain freedom, and we pay tribute to the memory of those who made the ultimate sacrifice in this quest; through their experiences and those of others who were successful in achieving victory, we find among the most poignant and valuable lessons of humankind that continue to resonate with people of all backgrounds.” I hope everyone takes time today to reflect on these lessons and commits to employ them in creating a better and more just world.  

​If you are interested in learning more about this emancipation celebration, please register for today’s virtual presentation:  The Evolution of Juneteenth​, Friday, June 19; 11:45am to 12:45pm. This is a CC CLUE event.

Register to attend online. ​Join public historian and CSI alumna Debbie-Ann Paige for a discussion of the history and significance of Juneteenth, the oldest nationally celebrated ommemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States and the culmination of the many celebrations created along the road to freedom. The discussion will be moderated by  CSI’s Vice President for Student Affairs, Jennifer S. Borrero.   

By William J. Fritz