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Post University Blog

By Assistant Provost for Teaching and Learning Sandra Wilson, JD.

As Juneteenth approaches, we celebrate the emancipation of enslaved people in the United States and reflect on how far our nation has come in recognizing its importance. Juneteenth commemorates June 19th, 1865, when enslaved African American people in Texas finally received news of their freedom, the last state in the Confederacy to do so.

It’s the oldest celebration of the end of slavery in the US, a day of remembrance and joy for African Americans. While Juneteenth was made a Post University holiday in 2020. And later a federal holiday in 2021, it’s been a vital day of celebration for Black communities for over 150 years.

In my own experience I can recall the Juneteenth parade in Bridgeport CT, where I grew up. It has always been a joyous occasion to learn about its importance. I must admit at a young age I never fully understood why Juneteenth was so significant until I learned more about the historical wounds, the socioeconomic consequences and the enduring trauma of slavery. I can recall watching the various cultural groups participating in everything from the African diaspora, including the rich music of African drums, Gospel, Jazz, R&B, and Reggae. How can anyone forget the delicious foods like jollof rice and jerk chicken? And the soul food is to die for! I must the say that the music and food are highlights of the celebration – but to really learn about the history and understand its significance is the absolute best part of it all.

I think Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. beautifully captures the enduring yearning for freedom and the hope for a more inclusive future when he says: “We are not makers of history. We are made by history.” Juneteenth is a time to acknowledge the dark stain of slavery on our nation’s history, but it is also a day to celebrate the progress we’ve made towards a more just society. Though the fight for racial equality continues, Juneteenth is a powerful reminder of not just the resilience of African Americans, but the power of the human spirit.