Minted just one year ago by President Biden. Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, the day that slavery was finally abolished in the United States.
And well a national holiday Juneteenth should be, a day to be celebrated not just by Black Americans, but by all Americans. As put forth by Duke University professor of African American studies Mark Anthony Neal,
I for one like the image of the two days as being seasonal celebratory bookends: First Emancipation Day, then two weeks later Independence Day.
And yet, when you think about it, there is something problematic about Juneteenth as a holiday. Because, unlike the Fourth of July, which evokes patriotic images of American bravery and heroism in the fight for freedom,
No images of heroism, but of kidnapped men, women, and children taken away from their homes, families, and countries by traffickers in human flesh.
But Juneteenth is a start.