Isn’t it wonderful to be able speak, move about from place to place, choose the type of work that we want to perform without being hindered or restrained? Although there isn’t absolute freedom, we do take for granted the freedom that we have living in this nation. It’s not a perfect situation but it’s one of the best on this planet. Many of us don’t know what role our ancestors played—or really don’t care—in securing or denying freedom. Does it matter what our ancestors did or didn’t do or what they went through for us to enjoy the freedom that we have today?

Have our children learned about the past so there will be a better tomorrow?

The origin of Freedom Day started with the Emancipation Proclamation that was issued on Sept. 22, 1862, with an effective date of Jan. 1, 1863, by the signing from Abraham Lincoln. Since the Civil War was still in progress, the southern states weren’t adhering to the proclamation. Many of the male slaves escaped from the plantations for freedom and ended up serving in the Union Army.

After the war, Major Gordon Granger on June 19, 1865, led about 2,000 federal troops to Galveston, Texas. He was to read General Order No. 3, which stated that: “The people of Texas are informed that, in according with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property, between former masters and slaves and the connection heretofore existing between them, becomes that between employer and hired labor. The Freedmen are advised to remain at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts: and they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.”

Texas was one of the last places blacks didn’t get the news that they were freed. Throughout the south the former slaves were jubilant about their freedom. Freedom Day, Emancipation Day or Juneteenth are the same. It is the oldest African American holiday. But little did they know that freedom was still a dream.

Can We Talk

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Since Lincoln’s main concern was preserving the Union, was it a mistake that the Confederacy did not return to the Union before the issuing of the Emancipation Proclamation or before its signing? Should Lincoln have signed the Emancipation Proclamation? Since the Confederacy seceded from the United States, was the punishment sufficient for actions of the Confederacy? Did the United States drop the ball on Reconstruction? What’s your thought on a Freedom Day celebration?

May we be Respectful, Tolerant and Patient; live in Peace and Love as we’re Consistent in our journey in the Light.

Alibaba Lumumba is a believer of peace who sees Arcadia’s potential and wants to participate in the evolving process in the future of the city and DeSoto County

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