Juneteenth, celebrated on June 19, is marked as the African-American Emancipation Day, the day that all slaves were declared free two years after Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.
On Thursday, the eve of Juneteenth, the U.S. Senate approved an apology to the African-American community for the wrongdoing of slavery and the presence of the Jim Crow segregation laws. Although the resolution is awaiting approval from the U.S. House of Representatives, many feel the process is an important move forward.
“Let us make no mistake: This resolution will not fix lingering injustices. While we are proud of this resolution and believe it is long overdue, the real work lies ahead,” said Senator Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, according to the American Free Press.
At the Collegian, we feel like this is one huge step forward for the Civil Rights Movement. Iconic figures such as Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. would be ecstatic to see an African-American president and a formal apology for the unthinkable treatment of their people.
Though those who were slaves have passed on, many African-Americans can remember the brutal realities of the ’50s and ’60s race relations.
This isn’t the first time the U.S. Senate has apologized for their wrongdoings, according to the AFP article. The U.S. apologized to the Native American people and World War II-era Japanese-Americans, who suffered through internment camps.
While the U.S. has previously given sums of money with the apologies, we say that money can never amount to the progress the nation has made as a whole. From abolishing slavery to desegregating schools, it has been a long journey and we’re glad that the Senate has at least acknowledged the hard times that millions of African-Americans have suffered.