Whiteman Air Force Base celebrates Juneteenth

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Alex Chase
  • 442d Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Whiteman Air Force Base Airmen and families celebrated a historic day in a Juneteenth festival June 19, 2020, in Hangar 52, here.

June 19, or Juneteenth, marks the final abolition of slavery in the US and is widely celebrated in the country. It dates all the way back to 1865, after the Civil War.

Although President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation January 1, 1863, stating that all persons held as slaves shall be free, it wasn’t until two-and-a-half years later, June 19, 1865, that this was formally enforced. This was due to the many slave owners relocating to Texas where the number of union troops was fewer.

Two months after the Civil War ended on April 9, 1865, Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger issued General Order Number 3 that would free all remaining slaves, stating, “...an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor.”

Although this order was issued in Texas, many slave owners failed to report this news to their slaves, instead waiting for government agents to arrive or until after their next harvest. Nevertheless, this day would go down in history as one of the biggest steps towards equality.

Today, 46 states recognize Juneteenth as an official state holiday or observance, while activists continue pushing towards making it a National holiday. Last week, many Airmen and their families enjoyed food, music, vendors, and games while celebrating the 155th anniversary of this significant day in history.