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Last Sunday was Juneteenth, a newly recognized national holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. The holiday celebrates the anniversary of General Order No. 3 by Gen. Gordon Granger of the Union Army, who on June 19, 1865, declared that enslaved people in the state of Texas were free.

Although the “peculiar institution” upon which the U.S. was built has long since come to an end—at the cost of hundreds of thousands of American lives—its legacy lives on today, from a criminal justice system plagued by racial inequities to a political system that often treats Black Americans as fodder. Reparations were never paid, forced labor still exists in the United States today, and crises are disproportionately felt by Black communities across the country.

This week, OptOut has selected a number of articles and op-eds related to Juneteenth and our imperfect efforts to overcome our brutal national proclivities.

Your Independent News Roundup

STATES NEWSROOM syndicated an excellent piece by Tufts University professor Kris Manjapra about the history and legacy of Juneteenth and the fight for Black emancipation. This is the NEVADA CURRENT version.

On Juneteenth, the history of how emancipated people were kept unfree needs to be remembered, too - Nevada Current
The actual day was June 19, 1865, and it was the Black dockworkers in Galveston, Texas, who first heard the word that freedom for the enslaved had come. There were speeches, sermons and shared meals, mostly held at Black churches, the safest places to have such celebrations. The perils of unjust law…
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The MISSOURI INDEPENDENT has a story about how the issue of reparations for the descendants of formerly enslaved persons has become mainstream.

Reparations for Black Americans seeing unprecedented national support, advocates say • Missouri Independent
Callie House walked out of the Missouri State Penitentiary in Jefferson City on August 1, 1918, and headed back to her five children and job as a “washerwoman” in Tennessee. Her crime – mail fraud. The federal government claimed that the organization she’d helped lead since 1894 – the National Ex-…
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SOURCE NEW MEXICO has an analysis out by Barbara Jordan, founder of the group People Requiring Equality w/in Systemic Racism (PRESS) New Mexico, explaining why the celebration of the holiday is necessary but pointing out that recognition is just the tip of the iceberg.

Juneteenth needs to be celebrated - Source New Mexico
Disrespect for the new federal holiday is disrespect for the African American community.
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The CONNECTICUT MIRROR published a review of how Juneteenth was celebrated across the state.

Here’s a look at Juneteenth celebrations across Connecticut
Events honoring Juneteenth, marking the end of enslavement in the United States, extend throughout the month of June.
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On WHO WHAT WHY's latest podcast episode, historian Annette Gordon-Reed, author of On Juneteenth, talks about the significance of the Juneteenth holiday in the context of the broader struggle for racial equality.

From Juneteenth to July 4th: The Ongoing Quest for Freedom - WhoWhatWhy
The emotional importance of Juneteenth, as told by Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-winning historian and Texas native Annette Gordon-Reed.
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The NEW HAMPSHIRE BULLETIN has a necessary piece examining, in light of the holiday, the disparate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on white and Black communities.

COVID in Black and white: A Juneteenth reflection – commentary – New Hampshire Bulletin
“When white folks catch a cold, Black folks get pneumonia.” We’ve known this old adage for years but never before did it strike so close to home as it did last month when COVID finally caught up with our interracial family.
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In related news, new variants of Covid-19 are spreading and driving up cases, as THE DAILY MONTANAN reports.

New COVID subvariants continuing to push Montana’s numbers higher – Daily Montanan
New variants, fewer booster and less caution are leading to COVID’s numbers creeping back up in Montana.
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THE MAJORITY REPORT talked with UCLA American history professor Robin D.G. Kelley about Juneteenth and the history of emancipation.

Thanks as always for keeping up with the OptOut network! See you this weekend.

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