What exactly is Juneteenth? It is a celebration marking the end of slavery in the United States. The first time this holiday was celebrated was June 19, 1865. After the Civil War ended Major General Gordon Granger, arrived in Galveston, Texas. He quickly spread the news that the war had ended and that the slaves had been freed. As you hopefully remember from reading Lincoln’s speeches, the Emancipation Proclamation freed the slaves on January 1, 1863. Sadly, it took two years from the time the Emancipation Proclamation became law until it could be enforced in Texas. Every year since then, Juneteenth has been celebrated on June 19th with parades, parties, and other celebrations.
Thousands of slave ships left Africa to take the Middle Passage to Brazil, the Caribbean, or the United States. Not all made it. Sadly, some ships sank with the entire ship full with those who were to be sold into slavery.
One man has decided it is his job to find those ships. Read the article here to find out how one History professor and his assistants are trying to find missing slave ships and what he plans to do when he finds them.
“Any time, any time while I was a slave, if one minute’s freedom had been offered to me, and I had been told I must die at the end of that minute, I would have taken it—just to stand one minute on God’s airth [sic] a free woman— I would.” — Elizabeth Freeman, aka Mum Bett
Currently, we are learning how brave people like Harriet Tubman helped to free slaves. But have you ever heard of Elizabeth Freeman? Freeman was a slave who lived in Massachusetts in the late 1700s in Massachusetts. Elizabeth Freeman sued for her freedom and won it in a courtroom!