The end of slavery was the best thing to happen to Black people in the history of this country. People who had no rights and could only subsist were to be treated as citizens. The Civil War had divided the country, but at last this issue about human bondage had been resolved.
We just recently celebrated Juneteenth, June 19, to commemorates the complete end of slavery in the United States. On this day, two and a half years after Lincoln abolished slavery, communities in Texas were informed that slavery had ended and those in bondage should be freed.
This day should not merely celebrate a moment in history. Let it remind us that even today, after having had a Black president in this country, it is undeniable that the struggle for civil rights continues for Black people. If one person is denied their rights, then all of us are.
The amendments to our constitution that followed emancipation legislated that no people could be slaves unless they were being punished for a crime, and that all former slaves now had the equal protection of all the laws like any other citizens. It was further to be enacted that slavery is unlawful for the punishment of a crime.
This country even refused to recognize Cuban slaves, during the rebellion on the Amistad. The ship carrying them into slavery ended its trip here in the United States, and the Supreme Court ruled the people aboard were not property and, therefore, the basis of the trip was a fraud.
All these civil rights were based on the fact that Black people are free and cannot be denied the rights of other citizens. Of course, in reality, enforcing these laws did not occur easily. There were lynchings and the denial of the right to an interpreter, which was called “separate but equal.”
We must continue to be vigilant to see that all citizens are treated fairly. Never forget.