Today is Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Jubilee Day. It marks the day in 1865 when Union Gen. Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, and read federal orders announcing that enslaved people were free. That announcement came two years after President Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation on New Year’s Day 1863.
For 155 years, Juneteenth has been more of a footnote on the calendar than a day of jubilee for most Americans. But this year, with the growing movement toward racial justice and equality, that calendar footnote has become a cause for recognition and celebration.
Slaves in Texas waited two years to hear the truth of their freedom. In this day of social media and 24-hour news, it is unimaginable to think it took two years for those held in bondage to hear of their freedom. William R. Gladstone once famously said, “Justice delayed is justice denied.” And Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. echoed those words years later when he said, “Justice too long delayed is justice denied.”