On the Road to Freedom
Juneteenth is the oldest commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. June 19th is recognized as African American Emancipation Day or Freedom Day. It marks the day in 1865 when the people of Texas were informed that, in accordance with a presidential proclamation, all slaves were free. It says: “This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor.” A century and a half later, African-Americans remain at the bottom of almost every social index from infant mortality and homelessness to unemployment and poverty. The road to freedom is a long one and yes there have been some steps forward but this is no time for victory laps. There is too much work to be done.
Cornel West is Professor of the Practice of Public Philosophy at Harvard. He has been called “the preeminent African American intellectual of his generation.” With his preacher-like cadences and passionate delivery, he is much in demand as a speaker. Among his many books are Race Matters, The Rich and the Rest of Us and Black Prophetic Fire.