FILE - Dancer Prescylia Mae, of Houston, performs during a dedication ceremony for the massive mural "Absolute Equality" in downtown Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 2021. Communities all over the country will be marking Juneteenth, the day that enslaved Black Americans learned they were free. For generations, the end of one of the darkest chapters in U.S. history has been recognized with joy in the form of parades, street festivals, musical performances or cookouts. Yet, the U.S. government was slow to embrace the occasion. (Stuart Villanueva/The Galveston County Daily News via AP, File)

For those who think the Juneteenth story we’ve been taught is all we and our children need to know about June 19, 1865, think again. Here are some unique perspectives on Juneteenth shared by nationally-acclaimed scholars.


Dr. Gerald Horne (interview on Activist News Network, Oct 15, 2022)

In Horne’s book “The Counter-Revolution of 1836: Texas Slavery, Jim Crow & the Roots of US Fascism,” the University of Houston history professor argues that there was a second “Juneteenth” just as important, if not more so, than the original (June 19, 1865).

Horne’s scholarship shows that during the Civil War (1861 – 1865), Mexico was occupied (colonized) by France who installed a puppet leader, Maximillian, who teamed with Confederate soldiers seeking, after Robert E. Lee’s surrender, to re-igniting the Civil War in hopes of preserving slavery.

“Juneteenth (June 19, 1865), which by the way was enforced at gunpoint, including a compliment of Black troops in blue, U.S. military uniforms as well, was not the end of the story. Because the enslavers were going to continue the war as noted from the French-occupied Mexico. In fact, the French, with their allies in Africa… began to transport Black soldiers from Africa to bolster their puppet regime in Mexico City. I speculate that some of the Black soldiers under the French flag who wound up in Mexico probably wind up in Texas. Certainly, many of them wind up staying in Mexico. But in any case, there’s another ‘Juneteenth,’ which is June 19, 1867, when the French puppet Maximillian, he’s captured in a joint process involving progressive Mexicans under the regime of Mexican leader and national hero Benito Juarez and Black troops in the Union blue. And [Maximillian is] executed on June 19, 1867. And that ‘Juneteenth’ actually brings us closer to a truer emancipation than the original Juneteenth, June 19, 1865.”

Dr. Gerald Horne


Kelsey Smoot , Ph.D. candidate (“Juneteenth – not the Fourth of July – was the real Independence Day,” July 4, 2020)

Smoot’s original reason for no longer celebrating the 4th of July was not “expressly political,” though America’s history of imperialism and racism made that day feel for her like “utter hypocrisy.”

Then, during the summer of 2020, she experienced a Juneteenth commemoration/protest, and she has since viewed the day as America’s real Independence Day.

“I marched through the streets of the nation’s capital with a crowd of Black folks of all ages. In the rain, I walked until my feet ached and wound up in Black Lives Matter Plaza, the massive yellow letters painted onto the ground creating an implied gathering space. As I looked into the crowd, into the eyes of other celebrators, I saw my joy, and my fears, mirrored back to me. In that space, one of both celebration and resistance, we moved synchronously. We danced as we marched. I recognized that this was the feeling I had never truly felt on the Fourth of July. A feeling of true belonging. Suddenly, my decision not to celebrate the national independence day felt expressly political.”

Kelsey Smoot


Nikole Hannah-Jones , award-winning journalist & Howard University professor (featured speaker, Schomburg Center’s June 9, 2022, “Freedom Dreams: Juneteenth-Inspired Professional Learning for NYC Educators”)

“It’s like most things; complicated. So, I’ve long believed that we should have an Emancipation Day in this country. Many other countries in the Americas that also engaged in chattel slavery make a big deal, they acknowledge the emancipation of slavery. And the fact that we won’t do it just speaks to the continued cover-up of the role that slavery played in our country and our inability to grapple with it. Because emancipation is a good story. I mean, this is when we can finally begin to work toward becoming the country of our highest ideals. And it should not be seen as a Black holiday, but an American holiday.

Nikole Hannah-Jones


Dr. Gerald Horne (Defender articles)

Horne joins other scholars in pushing back against the traditional Juneteenth narrative that places General Gordon Granger and his reading of General Order No. 3 at the story’s center. Horne’s research pushes back against this white savior narrative by showing that Granger’s troops, 75-80% Black, had to go to war with Texas and Louisiana plantation owners to secure our freedom AFTER Granger read that famous order, making Juneteenth a Black Liberation holiday.


Nikole Hannah-Jones (“Freedom Dreams”)

“If we look at the protests of 2020, literally, that’s all we got. That’s all. There’s been no police reform bill passed. There’s been no voting rights bill passed. Even things like Child Tax Credits, which are race-neutral, not passed, throwing millions of Black children back into poverty. So, the passage of Juneteenth in some ways feels very cynical [and] symbolic. And not to say that symbolism doesn’t matter, but of course, we would like the symbol and the substance.”

Nikole Hannah-Jones


June 10 & 177a.m. – 5p.m.Emancipation Park3018 Emancipation Ave.Houston, TX 77004JUNETEENTH FREEDOM RIDEThis ride will begin at Emancipation Park and travel to the Sunnyside & South Park and back taking in all the historic sites each community has to offer.
June 1011a.m. – 8p.m.Emancipation Park3018 Emancipation Ave.Houston, TX 77004FREE“Celebrate Freedom”This event brings together seven historic Black communities in Houston to celebrate the richness of our Culture, pay homage to the pioneers of Juneteenth, and experience Jubilee in a way that is uniquely our own. Calling everyone from Independence Heights, Fourth Ward, Third Ward, Fifth Ward, Sunnyside, Acres Homes, and South Park.
June 14 – 17Multiple locations & times2nd Annual Juneteenth HBCU Alliance WeekendSponsored by PVAMU and TSU alumni associations6/14, Juneteenth Symposium, Rice University, 8:30a.m. – 12:30pm6/15, Golf Tourney, Memorial Hermann Golf Course, 8a.m.6/16, Career Fair, Post HTX, 10a.m.6/17, Black is Beautiful Market, Post HTX, 10a.m. – 5p.m.
June 141p.m. – 3p.m.African American History Research Center (former the Gregory School)1307 Victor St.Houston, TX 77019FREEAbsolute Equality – Juneteenth Mural Dedication and UnveilingJoin us for a momentous occasion as we celebrate the unveiling of a vibrant mural by renowned artist Reginald C. Adams.
June 165p.m. – 9p.m.Project Row Houses2521 Holman St.Houston, TX 77004FREEJuneteenth Kickback by Project Row HousesAn afternoon filled with fun, games, food, and family
June 177a.m. – 11a.m.Emancipation Park3018 Emancipation Ave.Houston, TX 77004FREEInaugural Freedom Walk & RunJoin us for a fun walk to kick off this year’s Juneteenth celebration!

I'm originally from Cincinnati. I'm a husband and father to six children. I'm an associate pastor for the Shrine of Black Madonna (Houston). I am a lecturer (adjunct professor) in the University of Houston...