Today, June 19, 2020, is the 155th anniversary of the arrival of Major General Gordon Granger in Galveston, Texas and his announcement that the Civil War was over and that every enslaved person was free, and had been in law, although not reality, since the Emancipation Proclamation was signed by President Abraham Lincoln two and a half years earlier.
Granger’s General Orders No. 3 announced:
“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, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired laborer.”
NJEA’s officers, President Marie Blistan, Vice President Sean M. Spiller and Secretary-Treasurer Steve Beatty, offered this statement of support and pledge to carry out the hard work of racial justice:
“For more than a century, Juneteenth has been celebrated by African Americans and largely ignored by most others. As a labor union that demands dignity and respect for workers and the work we do, we should have been at the forefront of acknowledging, celebrating, and honoring this proud history. On this Juneteenth, and continuing forward, we are working alongside our 200,000 members to gain a deeper understanding of the challenges facing Black Americans in particular, along with all people of color. We pledge always to do the work necessary to support our members, our students, and our nation as we acknowledge our troubling history and strive to build a better future.”
In support of that pledge, NJEA invites and encourages all members to join the newly formed REAL Movement for racial equity, affirmation and literacy.
NJEA is proud to share this video produced by New Brunswick Education Association (NBEA) President LeShaun Arrington that features NJEA President Marie Blistan and members of the NBEA sharing the story of Juneteenth and its history in New Jersey.