To The Editor:

While America celebrates the 4th of July, paying respect to the Declaration of Independence, many Black Americans do not. For their ancestors, there was no freedom. They had no declaration. They had no independence. They were slaves, mere property of their masters. They were beaten, stolen, separated from their families, killed. They were objects, not humans. It would take almost 100 years and another war for Black Americans to become free. Our declaration: The Emancipation Proclamation of 1863. Our Independence Day: June 19, 1865.

June 19, 1865, marks the day the Union soldiers, landed in Texas to notify its slave owners the war was over, and slaves were now free. On this day, 2 1/2 years after the Emancipation Proclamation took effect, every Black man, woman and child standing foot on American soil was no longer owned by anyone…they were free. It is currently known as Juneteenth — celebrated on June 19 — and is the oldest nationally celebrated holiday in the Black culture. To this day Black Americans still fight to be equal, to be seen, to be protected, to be respected, and to matter. These are descendants of slaves. Their ancestors’ historical struggles will always be embedded in them. This is why the Black community celebrates the high reverend Black Independence, Juneteenth.

Nicole Johnson

Formerly of St. Clair