NASHVILLE, Tenn., (WKRN) – Governor Bill Lee said he will sign a Juneteenth proclamation Friday to mark the emancipation of slavery. It came as events are planned to celebrate the historic day.
The Tennessee State Museum is hosting a virtual event to celebrate Juneteenth on Friday at 11 a.m. ET.
“I think it’s important to understand that African Americans were not free at the establishment of this country. When they wrote ‘We the People,’ black people weren’t considered in that ‘We,'” said Brigette Jones, Tennessee State Museum curator of social history. “We didn’t become part of that ‘we’ until emancipation so it’s very important to acknowledge the freedom of all Americans – not just when one side of America feels like it’s the right way to do it.”
Juneteenth recognized the day that General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas to tell the last of the enslaved people in that state that they were free. Now, it’s celebrated to honor the sacrifices of people who were enslaved, their eventual freedom, and the freedom African Americans hold today because of those sacrifices.
Tennessee House Bill 1626 called for June 19th to be designated as a legal state holiday – Juneteenth Day.
“I think if it doesn’t happen this year I think it’s happening in years to come. I think there’s a big push now for the representation of African American History in culture more than there has ever been before,” said Jones. “I think more people are beginning to really understand what black people have been through in this country.”
Click here for more information on the Tennessee State Museum’s virtual Juneteenth event.