On June 19, 1865, a Union Army general rode into Galveston, TX with General Order #3 to inform the African American enslaved population, and their enslavers, that they were free and had been so since the signing of Proclamation 95 and presidential executive order dated January 1, 1863. Two years, four months and 18 days earlier. Nearly six months after Congress passed the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery on January 31, 1865. And a couple months after the Civil War ended on April 9, 1865.
The general also advised the people who were just informed of their freedom that they should remain on the plantations they had been enslaved on and wait for wages from their former masters who were now deemed their employers with whom they had just been granted equal rights under the law. Yada, yada, yada. We can all see how this played out over the last 157 years.
Ironically, the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, ratified on December 6, 1865, was presented as confirmation that slavery was abolished in the United States. Yet the very law that abolished slavery in plain sight, made it legal out of sight. The 13th Amendment allows for slavery and involuntary servitude for those convicted of crimes.
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation
On June 19, 1866, Juneteenth was observed for the first time as the end of slavery in America. [Technically forced prison labor and human trafficking are forms of slavery still thriving in America today, but the unvarnished truth is nothing to celebrate.]
Juneteenth becomes a Federal Holiday
On February 25, 2021, Senator Edward Markey sponsored Juneteenth National Independence Day as a legal public holiday in Congress. The act was signed into law on June 17, 2021. On June 19, 2021, everyone in America enjoyed a new federal holiday – many of whom had no idea of the roots or significance.
For the 156th Juneteenth aka Emancipation Day, and the second Juneteenth National Independence Day, I observed in the silence of my creative space. I chose to edit three pieces from my catalog that speak to me about the foundation of exploitation in the United States of America and the continued impact of capitalist malfeasance on our existence today.
Though my most recent work focuses on Black Women, the harm is felt throughout all of society.
As much as people want to think that the least valued and unappreciated people don’t matter in the larger picture, the history of the world shows that what a society accepts for the least of their members will become the norm for all.
We are all the same in differ ways.
The Juneteenth Print Series
It may seem late for #Juneteenth, but #freedom is actually late.
The prints in my Juneteenth 2022 Print Series are titled:
Each image is available as 5×7 & 11×14 print on silk paper. They can be ordered on this site and via my Square Store.
The Juneteenth 2022 Print Series: Built on Cotton depicts Lady Liberty walking towards mainland USA across New York Harbor as a sea of cotton.
The New York Slavery Records of the City University of New York dates slavery in New York back to 1525. They cite the 1830 census as recording 75 enslaved Africans in the state, despite an 1817 law emancipating the enslaved in the state.
The Crossing: Blood in the Water depicts a mother & daughter holding hands across the Atlantic. There’s blood enveloping a ship-like structure behind them that stretches from the African continent to the USA.
Between 1500 and 1900, it’s estimated that approximately 15 million Africans from across the continent were taken by European enslavers. There are no exact numbers as no one kept detailed records. Approximately 10.5 million enslaved Africans arrived in the Americas and the Caribbean. Some estimate that close to 2 million are buried in the Atlantic Ocean with the remainder dying in Africa during their transport to the coast.
Black Women Stand Alone depicts a lone Black Woman sitting in front of the White House as a police officer approaches her. Barricades with signs reading *Do Not Enter* are barring her entry to the seat of power.”
State violence against Black Women happens in many forms and infiltrates every level and theatre of society. Black women are treated as inferior humans, wives, mothers, employees. They are neglected in education, healthcare, business, government and society. They are targeted by men, women, science, police, and government programs. There are truly no safe spaces at any level for Black Women.