Honoring Juneteenth

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Honoring Juneteenth
Rebecca Swanberg

Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. Also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Liberation Day, and Emancipation Day, it dates to June 19, 1865, when the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the Civil War had ended and that enslaved Black people still working on plantations were free.
 
The Emancipation Proclamation was issued on January 1, 1863. However, the freedom afforded by this Proclamation would not be experienced by many enslaved people until the Union army defeated the Confederate army. As the Civil War ended, an executive order in 1865 directed units of Union soldiers to travel on horseback and tell Black people they were free.
 
St. Luke’s School honors Juneteenth by promoting a liberating environment where all people, and especially our children, are empowered to learn with joy and lead with heart. According to the Black feminist scholar bell hooks, when education is at its best, it is the practice of freedom. She once declared: “The classroom remains the most radical space of possibility in the academy.” In our classrooms at St. Luke’s School, we unfetter the possibility in our students by motivating them to strive for intellectual and moral excellence—all for the sake of a better world.
 

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