Celebrate Juneteenth with the Eagles

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Philadelphia’s role in Juneteenth

The Emancipation Proclamation inspired African Americans who, thanks to the decree, were able to fight to join the civil war in the hope that victory would lead to the death of slavery. It was a brilliant move by Lincoln. He knew he needed extra help to win the war. Slaves were used to strengthen the Confederation forces. Accepting African Americans on the side of the Union would strengthen the north and weaken the south.

Octavius ​​Catto, a Philadelphia civil rights activist, gathered African Americans in town to get involved and created a poster that read “NOW OR NEVER” and “FAIL NOW & OUR RACE IS DOOMED” to highlight the urgency of the moment . A statue of Catto referred to as the 19th century Martin Luther King is now outside Philadelphia City Hall. Thanks to the work of abolitionists like Catto, Fredrick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, and several others in Philadelphia, Camp William Penn was established in Cheltenham, just outside Philadelphia, to train African American soldiers from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York. It was the only African American camp in Pennsylvania and the largest in the nation during the Civil War. Starting in June 1863, over 10,000 soldiers prepared for the battle at Camp William Penn on land that previously belonged to the abolitionist Lucretia Mott.

Soldiers from Camp William Penn were sent to Virginia to help defeat Confederate General Robert E. Lee at Appomattox. Lee surrendered on April 9, 1865, but there was no social media alert to the end of the war. Camp William Penn troops continued on to Texas, and some helped Granger when he explained that the slaves in Galveston were free.

“All slaves are free,” Granger said to the people, reading what is now known as General Order No. 3 is known. “This implies an absolute equality of personal and property rights between former masters and slaves and the previous connection between them becomes that between employer and wage worker.”

Why is Juneteenth now a federal holiday?

A year after the last of the slaves were freed in Galveston, Texas, African Americans celebrated the anniversary as if it were their own 4th of July by reading the Emancipation Proclamation and celebrating with prayers, speeches, dances, games and plenty of food. The Juneteenth was a happy African American tradition until the end of the century, but the tradition declined in the early 20th century for several reasons. The Great Depression forced several African Americans to find work in cities where bosses did not allow free time on June 16. And while African Americans were free from slavery, they were not free from racism, which manifested itself in the form of Jim Crow laws that allowed segregation as well as other forms of intimidation.

The civil rights movement of the 1960s helped revive the June 18 celebrations beyond the families who had kept the tradition alive. Texas was the first state to make Juneteenth a public holiday in 1980. Ronald Brown of the Pennsylvania Juneteenth Coalition helped bring Juneteenth to the Philadelphia School District curriculum in 1999, a Pennsylvania state holiday enacted in 2019 by Governor Tom Wolf. Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney used a one-time ordinance to make it a city holiday in 2020 to pass both the Senate and the House of Representatives. President Joe Biden signed it on Thursday.

“As a kid I always wondered why we knew so much about the beginnings of wars, especially the civil war, but why wasn’t I informed very early on the day the enslavement of Africans ended? That would have been a big deal should be for everyone. ” of us, “says Henderson, who grew up in St. Louis.” I think as we’ve seen a surge in social justice issues and more voices in these discussions and efforts to really try to address some of the injustices we are in Seeing this country and this world to stamp out, I believe there is a growing interest in learning these narratives.

“I know there is interest now, so I’m trying to use our platform as a museum to satisfy curiosity. Knowing about things like Juneteenth can help us get closer to the truth of who we really are.”



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