Recognizing the Importance of Juneteenth

JAG West Point Alumna Hazel Raymond gives a speech about the importance of Juneteenth, a federal holiday as of 2021.
June 20, 2022

The following is a transcript of JAG Alumna Hazel Raymond’s speech. For the video version, please see our Juneteenth post on Instagram and Facebook.

“Happy Juneteenth, Everyone! Happy Jubilee Day, Freedom Day, Black Independence Day!

Happy, Happy, Happy Juneteenth!

Juneteenth is now recognized as a national holiday as of 2021, last year, thanks to the Black Lives Matter movement and the signature of President Joe Biden. 

156 years ago on June 19th, 1865 Union General Gordon Granger went to Texas with federal troops behind him. When he saw the enslaved people there, he made an announcement and freed everyone. 

Two years before that, President Abraham Lincoln had already written the Emancipation Proclamation, he said: 'On the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free….'

Unfortunately, Lincoln’s proclamation wasn’t enforced in Texas until June 19th, 1865. That is the significance of Juneteenth, our Black Independence Day.

Let's take this moment to learn and reflect on our American History. 

Our ancestors hoped for a future that we live in today. 

They planted seeds of trees that we eat the fruit from, so let’s appreciate the hard work that was done for us and celebrate this accomplishment. 

Happy Juneteenth!”

For the full transcript of the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863, read HERE

To learn more about why Juneteenth is celebrated, here are some resources:

Why is Juneteenth Important? | National Museum of African American History and Culture (

Which states recognize Juneteenth as an official holiday? | Pew Research Center

The new Juneteenth federal holiday traces its roots to Galveston, Texas | WHQR

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