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Why Dec. 6 or Feb. 3 Should Replace Juneteenth as a Federal Holiday


Today is the relatively new federal holiday of Juneteenth. But if we really want to celebrate a day on which a historic event occurred aimed at ending institutionalized racism and slavery and enshrining civil rights, we shouldn’t be celebrating Juneteenth. The holiday should be December 6, the day the 13th Amendment was ratified in 1865, or February 3, the day the 15th Amendment was ratified in 1870.
The holidays we celebrate matter very much, as does what each holiday commemorates. June 19 was not a pivotal point in the history of civil rights or constitutional understanding in America. It only “marks the day when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas in 1865 to take control of the state and ensure that all enslaved people be freed.” Obviously, this was a joyous event, but it was a step in implementing the earth-shaking, nation-shaping action that had already been taken; namely, the end of slavery. As it is, the nature of Juneteenth is that it allows Democrats to blather about the injustices of slavery and racism without ever addressing the fact that it was the Democrat Party that championed and started a Civil War over slavery, that it was the Democrat Party that strenuously fought against civil rights, and that it was the Republican Party that ended slavery and secured black Americans’ civil rights. Celebrating the Constitutional amendments’ ratifications would not only shed light on the true political history but also teach Americans to understand and love our foundational document.
We don’t celebrate the day the British and Americans signed a treaty ensuring American independence as a national holiday — we celebrate July 4, the day in 1776 on which America declared independence, the day the great work of separating from Great Britain was begun.

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