Today, we commemorate the day of June 19, 1865 when General Gordon Granger led his group of soldiers to Galveston, Texas to deliver the message that the war was over and that slavery would no longer be tolerated. While the Emancipation Proclamation had been signed two and one-half years earlier, many persons had continued to be held in slavery. The executive order declared to this last group of enslaved persons that they, too, were now free: “The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves.”
While “absolute equality” remains a dream for many, we work together as American Baptists to make this dream a reality. Our Anti-Racism Task Force continues to lead us in becoming the most anti-racist denomination in the United States. We celebrate Juneteenth and applaud the U.S. Congress and Senate for passing the law that will make this our newest federal holiday.