AACTE Celebrates Juneteeth
AACTE celebrates Juneteeth in honor of African American history and closed the National Office today. On June 19, 1865, the emancipation of Black slaves was realized when Union troops arrived in Galveston Bay, Texas, to enforce the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation for these citizens. The newly freed people called this day “Juneteeth.” Prior to this time, Confederate-controlled states refused to free slaves so an executive decree was issued and enacted by Union military.
The AACTE National Office Staff took time to discuss and reflect on the importance of Juneteeth during a recent team meeting. Staff shared stories as well as resources to help others learn about this historical event. Having been enriched and enlightened, staff chose to share with the AACTE community key points and resources that stemmed from the discussion to help promote the importance of this monumental occasion in our nation. The following includes excerpts of the staff participants’ statements. Here’s what they had to say:
“I think it’s important that we acknowledge this holiday and take time to reflect on its meaning,” said Lynn M. Gangone, AACTE president and CEO. “There are 20 states that honor this holiday. It is a celebration of the end of slavery.”
“We have learned so much in the past few weeks that I was ignorant about. It’s been very helpful to my historical understanding,” said Jane West, AACTE consultant. “Unless we learn about [racism], acknowledge it and bear witness, we can’t move ahead.”
“Once you start having the discussion and all these things start coming up and you see how profound it is, people don’t want to have the conversation. But, I’m glad it is starting,” said K. Ward Cummings, AACTE director of government relations.
“This is so important because none of us were taught these things in school. There are six states that have passed legislation mandating the teaching of Black history and pre-colonialism invasion in African history. We should get to a point where we don’t have to self-teach on these significant issues,” said Leslie T. Fenwick, AACTE dean in residence. “The National Museum of African American History and Culture is such a resource to the nation. You can go on their website and explore their digital resources.”
Other helpful resources to learn more about Juneteeth, Black history and culture are:
- Juneteeth: A Celebration of Resilience by the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC)
- The Coming of Freedom: Celebrating Juneteeth
- Black-ish’s musical episode about Juneteenth is a pointed lesson on American ignorance
- Juneteenth Is a Reminder That Freedom Wasn’t Just Handed Over –
- The African Americans Many Rivers to Cross by Henry Louis Gates
- Black America Since MLK: And Still I Rise by Henry Louis Gates
- What Triggered the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre?
- The Price of the Ticket by James Baldwin and The Original Film
- Illusions of Emancipation: The Pursuit of Freedom and Equity in the Twilight of Slavery by Joseph Reidy
- Citizen by Claudine Rankine
- Blacks by Gwendolyn Brooks
- Eyes on the Prize
- “Here they will be reminded of the truth” by Leslie T. Fenwick
- Blacks in College: A Comparative Study of Students’ Success in Black and in White Institutions by Jacqueline Fleming
- Racial Equity Tools