San Antonio – Carey Latimore, associate professor and historian at Trinity University, talked with KSAT’s Steve Spriester and Myra Arthur about the history of Juneteenth as a holiday in America.
On June 19, 1865, two years after the declaration of the Emancipation Proclamation by President Abraham Lincoln and two months after the Civil War, Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger entered Galveston, Texas, and issued a decree that pronounced the end of slavery numerous times.Slaves heard it and found out they were free.
From then on, formerly enslaved people celebrated June 19 as “Juneteenth,” marking their freedom. However, Latimore said the newly-gained citizenship status of the former slaves came at a cost.
Many Americans have reclaimed the holiday and it is seeing a resurgence.
Latimore said that Juneteenth ebbs and flows in popularity, but American people are identifying with the holiday because of people’s relationships with race and society.
“I think we’ve reached a point in our society that we’re starting to question our relationship with race and to question ways in which we really have a question,” Latimore said. “I think before George Floyd, Brianna Taylor and Ahmaud Aubrey. They have really brought a different perspective to the way that we look at race and we’re asking questions about ‘do all lives do all last in this country, matter the same way?' ‘Do black lives matter in the same way as other lives?' And so I think that is bringing us to Juneteenth and asking those kinds of questions.”
You can view an interview Steve Spriester did with Latimore about Juneteenth below in the video player below: