• Nicole Belvedere

Break Every Chain

On June 19, the African Diaspora of the United States celebrates, recognizes, and just generally acknowledges the celebration of Juneteenth.

June 19, 1865 was the day that the deepest parts of the South learned of Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation which freed slaves in Confederate States on

January 1, 1863.

Knowing that it took over two years for news of 'freedom' to travel puts into perspective how fortunate we are to live in a time where information is received almost instantaneously.

While I understand the importance of Juneteenth and wish to one day participate in its celebration, I think it's important that we recognize this day does not actually represent the abolishment of slavery in the United States.

The Emancipation Proclamation only freed slaves in the Confederacy - which technically Lincoln did not have domain over at that time. While most Union States were not slave states, the five Border States (Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia, Kentucky and Missouri) were allowed to legally keep slaves.

Maryland, West Virginia and Missouri changed their state constituitons to end slavery before the end of the Civil War; however, Delaware and Missouri never took steps to formally abolish slavery on the state level and neither state ratified the 13th Amendment until the 20th Century.

Although all the slaves in the former Confederate states were legally freed by June 19 1865, two states - Delaware & Kentucky - were legally allowed to own slaves until the 13th Amendment was signed into law in December of 1865.

Taking a look at the 13th Amendment is important because it doesn't seem that it truly ended slavery. What 13 Amendment has done is change the way we are enslaved.

Photo courtesy of Huff Post from article "Amend the 13th Amendment" 6/21/2014.

The 13 Amendment allows for involuntary servitude as long as the person is convicted of a crime. It changed the fact that a human being could be considered property of an individual but he/she can be property of the State. And now so many prison are privately owned that once again a person is worth a dollar amount while incarcerated.

Instagram @real_toons

An artist names Davian Chester created a digital art piece in commemoration of Juneteenth. The caption under his photo read - "I noticed Googtgle didn't create a doodle for Juneteenth. So I decided to help out."

This photo made me think of the phrase break every chain and all of the work we must do to break the chains of systematic oppression.

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