AACTE Celebrates Juneteeth

Happy JuneteenthAACTE 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:


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Jerrica Thurman

Director of Marketing & Communications, AACTE