Juneteenth, celebrated June 19, marks the day enslaved Texans learned they were free in June of 1865. While the history of the holiday includes the injustice of enslavement, Juneteenth should also be understood in the context of Black people’s fight for justice and freedom. As Staff Writer Coshandra Dillard notes, “Students, particularly Black students, can find empowerment in the jubilant celebrations of culture, activism and the humanity of a people.”
“What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?” is a speech by abolitionist Frederick Douglass. Douglass, who himself escaped enslavement years before, gave the speech on July 5, 1852 at an Independence Day celebration in Rochester, New York.
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In promoting diversity and fighting racism, inclusive education programs forged pathways toward building equitable societies. Now, as our nation confronts multiple assaults on democratic values, we hold firm in the fight to protect—and to expand—democracy through social justice education.