Educational programs for Juneteenth holiday
Gov. John Carney has closed state offices in honor of Juneteenth today, June 19, while programs will be offered online on race and slavery. New Castle, Kent and Sussex counties also closed their offices today in recognition of Juneteenth.
The holiday commemorates when the news of the Emancipation Proclamation reached of the last enslaved African Americans in the United States in Texas June 19, 1865 after the Civil War ended.
"Over the last several weeks, we have seen largely peaceful protests demanding racial justice and equality across our state," Carney said. "I have spent much of this time listening, and trying to chart a productive path forward. We can make meaningful change, and I believe we will."
He said the holiday offers an opportunity to encourage open dialogue, and to recommit to treating one another with more respect.
"As we move forward, I believe the least that each of us can do is commit to learning the lessons of our history. The good and the bad," he said.
He announced that his staff is working with the Delaware Heritage Commission to create an educational program around issues of race and slavery in Delaware and the U.S.
"If we don’t educate ourselves and acknowledge our ugly history around race, we can’t begin to understand the anger and frustration that I’ve heard from so many Delawareans in the last several weeks," Carney said.
He announced that he will sign an executive order on police reforms, banning the use of chokeholds at the Delaware State Police and Capitol Police and requiring additional de-escalation training.
"We will stop posting mugshots of children, mandate participation in the national use-of-force database, and increase crisis intervention training and mental health services for police officers," Carney said. "These are first steps that we can take administratively to improve the relationship between law enforcement and communities of color."
ONLINE PROGRAMS TODAY
Discussion with governor
At 11 a.m., Gov. Carney will host a live discussion about Juneteenth with Dr. Reba Hollingsworth, Vice Chair of the Delaware Heritage Commission; local historian Sylvester Woolford; Dr. Donna Patterson, Chair of the Department of History, Political Science, and Philosophy at Delaware State University; and Dr. David Young, Executive Director of the Delaware Historical Society.
Watch the Juneteenth discussion on Governor Carney's Facebook page, or at de.gov/live.
Black museums program
Black museums from coast to coast will present a virtual commemoration of Juneteenth today at noon at BLKFREEDOM.org or on Facebook Live.
The program will feature cultural performances from Africa and across America, educational content and appearances by:
Lonnie G. Bunch III, the first African American and first historian to serve as the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution;
Dr. Johnnetta Betsch Cole, anthropologist, educator, museum director and the first female African American president of Spelman College;
The Honorable Carla Hayden, Librarian of Congress, the first woman and the first African American to lead the national library.
The launch of BLKFREEDOM.org will commemorate the 155th anniversary of Juneteenth, which dates back to June 19, 1865, when union soldier, Maj. General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas, with the news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. This announcement was more than two and half years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.
Michigan Congresswoman Barbara Rose Collins introduced a bill in 1996 to make Juneteenth a federal holiday, legislation which has not been enacted. In her remarks, she said, “Juneteenth allows us to look back on the past with an increased awareness and heightened respect for the strength of the African American men, women and children, who endured unspeakable cruelties in bondage. Out of respect to our ancestors, upon whose blood, sweat, and tears, this great Nation was built, the bill I introduce today acknowledges that African Americans in this country are not truly free, until the last of us are free.”
BLKFREEDOM.org is a combined effort among Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History (Detroit, Michigan), Historic Mitchelville Freedom Park (Hilton Head Island, South Carolina), Northwest African American Museum (Seattle, Washington), Black Archives Historic Lyric Theater (Miami, Florida), National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (Cincinnati, Ohio) and the National Civil Rights Museum (Memphis, Tennessee).
In recognition of Juneteenth, and the 150-year anniversary of the 15th amendment (which gave black men the right to vote), join the Jane and Littleton Mitchell Center for African American Heritage at the Delaware Historical Society for an online presentation on the era by Christy Coleman.
“To Be Free, A Citizen and a Voter -- African American Agency in the Civil War” was presented on Zoom by the Historical Society June 17 at 10 a.m. and again at 6 p.m.
Coleman will highlight key moments leading up to, during, and after the Civil War. Particular emphasis will be given to the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments during the Reconstruction Period.
For more information, call (302) 655-7161, email email@example.com, or visit www.dehistory.org.