Culture | April 26th, 2024

Reflecting on Juneteenth

By: Ernest Walker
Reflecting on Juneteenth

Juneteenth is the official mark of when enslaved people in America were freed, two full years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. If the Union soldiers had not arrived in Galveston, Texas, in 1885, 250,000 slaves would have never been freed. Who knows how much longer the freedom of African Americans would have been prolonged?

While there has been progress in America in terms of racism and equality since the days of slavery, there is still a ways to go. For example, according to, Juneteenth was made a federally recognized holiday on June 17, 2021.

This is a cause for peace because “America’s Birthday,” on July 4, has been a federally recognized holiday since 1941 but has been celebrated every year since the US declared Independence in 1776.

Juneteenth serves as a reminder to African Americans in the United States of what we are still going through today.

Professor Ph.D. of Religious Studies Rafi Rahman had some powerful things to say about Juneteenth and shares his perspective on racial relations in the United States today. “Racism evolved in Juneteenth. Everyone with a vision to do something good for us as a community seems to elect someone who does the complete opposite.” Rahman said.

“This trend goes back to when Abraham Lincoln was killed, and after his death, President Johnson rolled back everything Lincoln did. To relate this to modern times, Obama did something good for African Americans, and then Donald Trump came in and took against everything he did during his presidency. Take two steps forward, two steps back.”

Juneteenth reminds African Americans all over the country that even though we have come a long way, we cannot stop. We must drive for more in terms of freedom and equality to ensure a better future for everyone, regardless of race.

FSU business student Quincy Elliot appreciates the significance of Juneteenth. “Juneteenth is a symbol of unfinished work of freedom and the ongoing struggle for black people in the United States.”

The unfinished work that Quincy is referring to is passed down from generation to generation in African American families. Each passing generation is trying to ensure that we continue to progress toward our eventual goal of racial equality.

FSU Pre-Law Student Aniyah Jerrigan understands the importance of celebrating Juneteenth. “This holiday is a phenomenal time to reflect on our shared history. People do not dwell on the past too much but acknowledge it and envision a more fruitful future for blacks across the nation,” the third-year student explained.

As we look forward to this holiday, do not think about how black people have been wronged. Think about all the work and good progress that has come in recent years. There is reason to believe that better days are ahead for African Americans.