< < Happy Birthday America
America has two independence days. The first one is what all Americans celebrate every year: July Fourth.
I believe every American needs to know they also have the second Independence Day, June 19. Let me explain this “Second Independence Day” in the following:
First let me quote the May 1, 2009, proclamation from Gov. Ted Kulongoski and Secretary of State Kate Brown: “the Independence Day movement initiated by the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, did not include the enslaved descendants of Africans, nor were they recognized as full human beings under the Declaration of Independence”; and …“slave owners in the Confederate states continued to enslave people in defiance until well after Civil War ended in April 1865.”
On June 19, 1865 when Union Major General Granger read General Order Number 3 in Galveston, Texas on June 19, 1865 and pronounced: “all slaves are free,” it was truly a day of mass emancipation. It has then become known as Juneteenth — “a de facto second Independence Day commemorating the end of slavery and a first step toward inclusion in the greater American dream” and “a time of celebration, but also a time of reflection, healing, and hopefully a time for the country to come together and deal with its slave legacy” (Gilbert Cruz, June 18, 2008 Time Magazine).
In 2001, members of the 71st Oregon Legislative Assembly passed Joint Resolution 56 and proclaimed June 19 of each year as Juneteenth Independence Day.
Peter Leung, President, Corvallis/Albany NAACP