"Juneteenth" and Beyond

Slavery is a part of America's past that many wish never happened, but it did. Shying away of teaching it is just as harmful. In 1862 Lincoln made efforts to end slavery which caused a Civil War. One positive which came from the war was the Emancipation Proclamation signed in 1862 and enacted on Jan 1, 1863. While this freed slaves in states that seceded from the Union, the message of freedom did not reach slaves in Galveston, TX until June 19, 1865.

July 4th may be a day of Independence for America in relation to Britain, but for Blacks and African Americans, "Juneteenth" is a day of Freedom. To learn more about Juneteenth and how to begin discussions on slavery, Civil War and June 19, 1865, click the picture below.

Now that slavery was over, freed blacks made numerous advancements in science, music, art, astronomy and even with business. The achievements are endless, but here are just a few to note using books:

1. A Band of Angels -Determined to enter a school after the Civil War but in need of money. Ella saves her money and eventually enters Fisk University. Having only enough for 3 weeks of school, she worked, gave music lessons and a basket of mending. She eventually joined the school chorus and sang songs that white choirs sang. As the school buildings began to fall apart, her determination for a place to study and the sadness accompanied by the fear that it would be no longer, was comforted through song. Will be music be enough to save a school?

2. The Secret Garden of George Washington Carver- After addressing Congress as a black man among white leaders, Carver had 10 minutes to show how and why peanuts were useful. He impressed leaders with his knowledge rooted in his curiosity of plants as a slave and after the civil war growing up on a farm. He couldn’t attend school and was discouraged to grow flowers but followed his heart and grew to impact the world with his discoveries. He overcame many challenges and became the peanut champion.

3. Follow Me Down To Nicodemus Town: After the Civil War free blacks still found living equally difficult. The Homestead Act of 1862 offered many the opportunity to secure 160 acres provided they could farm and live on it for five years. Moving and starting a new life wasn't easy and the families faced natural, financial and racial challenges. Together the African Americans proved they were stronger and built their own safe and thriving community called Nicodemus Town in 1877 started by a white developer, W.R. Hill, Reverend Smith, and five African American men.

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