(FREEPORT, N.Y.) - Nassau County Legislator Debra Mulé (D - Freeport) commemorated Juneteenth in Nassau County by hosting a special virtual forum about America’s newest federal holiday on Tuesday, June 15.
Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. It specifically refers to the June 19, 1865 issuance of Union General Gordon Granger’s “General Order No. 3,” which brought news of President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation to the people of Texas in these words:
“The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free,” the order reads in part. “This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves…”
Featuring Dr. Zebulon Vance Miletsky, Associate Professor of Africana Studies at Stony Brook University and Dr. R.A. Ptahsen-Shabazz, Black/Africana Studies educator currently teaching at Nassau Community College and Medgar Evers College; the discussion focused upon the history of slavery in the United States leading up to the Civil War; the complicated and intricate history of slavery in New York until its abolition in 1827; how Juneteenth became a celebration of freedom; and reflections on the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921 and impacts that are still being felt 100 years later.
New York State enacted legislation in late 2020 to make Juneteenth a state holiday. On the federal level, President Biden signed legislation on Thursday, June 17 to make Juneteenth a national holiday. The unanimous approval by the U.S. Senate occurred during the live broadcast, which Legislator Mulé shared with viewers and the panel.
“Connecting our community with resources that illustrate the full spectrum of American history is an essential component of our efforts to grow as a society,” Legislator Mulé said. “I am deeply grateful to Dr. Miletsky and Dr. Ptahsen-Shabazz for making our office’s Juneteenth forum an eye-opening and informative journey through aspects of our past that are far too often overlooked. I am hopeful that our office’s event will become one a growing number of discussions that will empower our society to grow toward a more inclusive future.”
Click here to view an encore presentation of the Juneteenth forum.