A Comment on Juneteenth

By | June 19, 2020

[June 19, 2020]  June 19th is the oldest nationally recognized commemoration date of the ending of slavery in the United States.  The date comes after the U.S. Civil War, fought to end slavery, and where an estimated 620,000 people died.  Not only were these losses higher than all other American wars, but the impact of the war also continues to echo throughout our culture.  And, now for a few comments on Juneteenth, which came about at the end of the Civil War.

The ending of slavery in the United States should be one of the most celebrated times in our history.  But it is not.  Yet, if we are to look back upon the history of the United States, we see the tremendous efforts put into our Nation’s birth and progress since its founding in 1776.  To extract any single impactful event, the U.S. Civil War is undeniably the most important of the nineteenth century.  The war freed millions of slaves in our country.

World War II freed tens of millions from terrible dictators bent on destroying sovereign nations.  Historians have argued for decades which of the two have had the most impact on America.  I won’t debate it but point out that both are relevant and culturally shaping events of the highest order.

Given the Civil War’s end-state, I do humbly suggest that we purposefully elevate the reasons for the war with a special day.  Without more emphasis on such a special day and therefore setting aside a time to remember and celebrate, we will not be able to fully teach those hard-won lessons from the war.

Also, many have argued that the date of June 19th is not the proper date.  One of the three other dates should be considered.  September 22nd, which is the date of U.S. President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation in1862 (nearly three years before June 19, 1865, when Texas formally freed their slaves).1,2  Or, May 9th, when in 1865 the Confederacy surrendered officially, ending the bloodiest war the U.S. ever fought.3  Or, December 18th, when in 1865, the 13th Amendment to the Constitution formally abolished slavery.

Today, every child in the U.S. learns about the Civil War, and they know the significance of keeping the Union together and freeing the slaves.  Texas only ended slavery after being occupied by Union troops on June 19th, a full six weeks later, after the formal surrender.

Freeing slaves is humankind’s seminal achievement in the last 200 years.  Why we don’t memorialize such a worthy effort is unclear.  We all deserve better.  Many believe the freeing of slaves in America is no longer noteworthy because of the problems we experience today.  I don’t see it this way.  We may not see these events of the Civil War to be of significance, but we do so only at our peril.

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  1. Some will legitimately suggest January 1st of 1863 when the proclamation took effect and should be the best date we might consider.
  2. “And by virtue of the power, and for the purpose aforesaid, I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated States, and parts of States, are, and henceforward shall be free; and that the Executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authorities thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons.” – U.S. President Abraham Lincoln in the Emancipation Proclamation, September 22, 1862
  3. This date remains a day of infamy for those living in those states which legally allowed slavery.
Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article everyday on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

18 thoughts on “A Comment on Juneteenth

  1. Nick Lighthouse

    Another good article worth reading. I’m sending this one to my friends in California. ha ha ha ha . No, they are not dopes but they have drunk the cool aide.

    Reply
    1. JT Patterson

      I read the article with the idea that my friends should also take a look and give their input. I’ll try to get back next week with the results. Overall, however, I’m please with it.

      Reply
  2. Janna Faulkner

    I agree with your comments on Juneteenth, Gen Satterfield. We simply don’t recognize the date because of mix emotions about it and the specific date doesn’t make much sense as the others you suggested.

    Reply
  3. AutisticTechie

    Best quote from today, “Freeing slaves is humankind’s seminal achievement in the last 200 years. ”
    I agree. But don’t forget the great achievements that have incrementally made us a better nation and world.
    Things like vaccinations, removing people from poverty, increasing life expectancy, and on and on.

    Reply
    1. Mr. T.J. Asper

      I agree with you on this one A T. Good to see you back in the forums. I’ve been accumulating many ideas since school was virtually cancelled. Many ideas are showing up in the forums and I like it.

      Reply
    2. Sherry Rind

      In a logic lesson, A.T.’s reply could be termed a false equivalency. The subject here is slavery, human rights. We’re taking a day, a moment, to think about that topic in particular. Adding in other notable achievements–vaccinations (which too many people are refusing), removing people from poverty (but not enough of them), increasing life expectancy (but not enough for people of color as a whole)–is a different discussion and serves to dilute the important point that Gen. Satterfield is making.

      Reply
  4. Kenny Foster

    Excellent article Gen. Satterfield. I never really gave the date much thought. But I do have an explanation why the date really never took off and that is freeing the slaves is not considered that big of a deal for us today. We take it for granted. Blacks also take it for granted too much and don’t put much thought into the barriers their families long ago faced.

    Reply
    1. Eric Coda

      Actually I think blacks today want to be in the “struggle” to show their worth in society. So folks (all folks black and white) have to pick on small stuff (blow up the importance), showing our moral superiority, and therefore their bravery. Nick picking is not a good trait to have.

      Reply
  5. Max Foster

    I’m ashamed to say that the Boy Scouts of America are another organization that caved to the BLM movement. I certainly hate pandering and that is exactly what they did. They also started accepting girls into their organization when they should have worked with the Girl Scout organizations to improve their ability to help girls. And, BSA declared bankruptcy because of the pedophiles they allowed in. Leadership in the Boy Scouts at the highest level has failed and history is yet to be written about it. Their names will live in infamy too.

    Reply
    1. Doc Blackshear

      Being an Eagle Scout from 1995 (showing my age here) meant something. Today, it means I will be associated with the downfall of one of the greatest organizations in the world.

      Reply
      1. Benny

        Too many of us agree with the sentiments here but we should work from within the Boy Scout org to help put it back on track. Like so many organizations today, they would rather pander to leftists so that they don’t get caught in the meat grinder.

        Reply
      2. Yusaf from Texas

        No surprises for us. This is not a new development.

        Reply
    2. Danny Burkholder

      Yes, too bad the BSA leadership has shown they are not immune to progressive, neo-Marxist ideology.

      Reply
  6. Georgie B.

    Some folks will be asking you, I predict, to make a statement about “Black Lives Matter” and their inherent moral superiority. I recommend to you, Gen. Satterfield, to think about this and don’t cave to the moral bandwagon that’s going around picking up morally weak people. Don’t jump on it.

    Reply
    1. Danny Burkholder

      Right, don’t pander to the mob like so many have done.

      Reply
    2. Darryl Sitterly

      Let’s help him craft something to write. Or not? 👍

      Reply

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