What is Juneteenth?

The Holocaust, Genocide and Interfaith Education Center commemorates Juneteenth.  Juneteenth falls on June 19, 1865, when General Major Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas and read a federal order abolishing the institution of chattel slavery in the state of Texas who were informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involved an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The moment was significant. Texas had been a holdout state where enslavement continued, despite President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation to end slavery two years before, in 1863, and the 13th Amendment, which outlawed slavery in the US Constitution. The 13th Amendment passed on Jan. 31, 1865.  However, this was a far cry from the truth of equality and justice as black Americans were treated unequally and dehumanized by segregation, Jim Crow Laws and systemic racism even after the Civil Rights Movement.  It is important that we make connections between black racism and antisemitism through the various theories that were being exchanged by the German and British Colonists.

Please see the following link:


It's important for us to remember how these laws also impacted others especially during the Colonial times and Nazi regime, these laws were used against many minorities under Nazi and fascist regimes.  We also have to take account of how many of the theories of Eugenics, a pseudo-science was used against black Americans first in the United States and then was transported to Germany to used against "non-aryans" but primarily Jews.  Eugenics found its most radical interpretation in Germany, but its influence was by no means limited to that nation alone. Throughout the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, eugenic societies sprang up throughout most of the industrialized world. In Western Europe and the United States, the movement was embraced in the 1910s and 1920s. Most supporters in those places endorsed the objectives of American advocate Charles Davenport. Davenport advocated for the development of eugenics as “a science devoted to the improvement of the human race through better breeding.” Its supporters lobbied for “positive” eugenic efforts. They advocated for public policies that aimed to maintain physically, racially, and hereditarily “healthy” individuals. For example, they sought to provide marital counseling, motherhood training, and social welfare to “deserving” families. In doing so, eugenics supporters hoped to encourage “better” families to reproduce.

Please see the link:  https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/eugenics

This is a part of our American history that we should share but many of us have omitted this from our historical consciousness.  We must remember that genocide culminates by propagating years of racism and myths about the "other." Our responsibility is to face the true reality of our own bias towards others but to act and condemn all bias especially today.

June 19th marks a celebration but also a memorial for all the black men and women who have been murdered because of the color of their skin.  Our mission is to eradicate human suffering and we must fight to end black racism.  We must teach our students about the recent massacres and remind our future generation of the truth.  

Please see the following link for more recent information on at least FIVE major massacres of black Americans:



For current information on police violence in the United States, see: 



Armed National Guards and African American men standing on a sidewalk during the race riots in Chicago, Illinois, 1919.

JUN FUJITA / COURTESY OF THE CHICAGO HISTORY MUSEUM | The photograph shows a group of African American men standing on a sidewalk alongside National Guardsmen during the 1919 race riots in Chicago, Illinois. The men are dressed in suits and hats, and some of them are holding umbrellas. The Guardsmen are armed with rifles and appear to be in a defensive posture. This image is important because it captures a moment in American history when racial tensions boiled over into violence, resulting in the deaths of both black and white people, and highlighting the ongoing struggle for civil rights and racial equality in the United States.