Juneteenth: Understanding Black Excellence Through History
Juneteenth is a newly recognized federal holiday that honors the unofficial end of slavery. Though the Emancipation Proclamation was signed in 1863, it wasn’t until two years later in 1865 when the Union Army finally made it to Texas and alerted those enslaved of their freedom. Today Juneteenth celebrates generations of achievements and milestones in the advancements of Black excellence and culture.
It’s no secret that the United States of America was built on slavery, and it is too easy for non-Black people to forget this. Juneteenth provides a space and time for all Americans to reflect on the atrocities that marr our nation’s history and to appreciate the excellence of the Black community. In this post, Vermont NORML wants to depict some of those moments in history which have led to advances in the rights and lives of Black Americans:
- January 19th, 1865 enslaved Texans get word that they are legally freed from the shackles of Slavery
- Ratified on July 9th, 1868 the 14th amendment was added to extend Liberties and rights granted to the African-American
- Ratified on February 3rd, 1870 the Fifteenth Amendment passes granting African American men the right to vote
- In August 1936 Jesse Owens became the first African American to win gold in track and field, dismantling Aryan supremacy in Nazi Germany.
- August 6th, 1965 Voting rights Act passed prohibiting discrimination in polls
- August 30th, 1967 Thurgood Marshall is the first black person to be appointed to the Supreme Court
- January 1969 the Black Panthers started the kids lunch program in Oakland, today known as the WIC program
- January 20th, 2009 inauguration of first recognized black president of the United States Barack Obama
- January 20th, 2021 Kamala Harris became the first black African-American female to be Vice President of the United States of America
The connection between Juneteenth and the legalization of cannabis may not seem obvious at first, but they both represent milestones in financial freedoms for Black Americans. Ultimately cannabis legalization can serve to build generational wealth for the descendants of enslaved people, a provision of life in the US that has never been easily accessible for the vast majority of Black Americans. With the right policies in place, the emerging cannabis market could serve as a huge stepping stone for those who have been marginalized for centuries.