January 1, 1863 is the date Abraham Lincoln signed the final Emancipation Proclamation, but this was the second time Lincoln had signed this document as president of the U.S. The first time was September 22nd, 1862, when Lincoln signed the initial document as a tactic designed to push the Southern slave states into surrendering to the federal government during the Civil war. Lincoln's idea was to use the document, which was designed to eradicate slavery of African people in this country, as a threat against the Southerners because no one obviously had more motivation for the South to lose the war than the Africans. This is a critical note because Lincoln has gone down in capitalist history as the person Africans should owe some level of gratitude for signing this document. As if to say in typical white supremacist fashion that we would not be free where it not for the benevolent act of this kind white man. As with everything pertaining to capitalism, the truth is much different. Lincoln viewed Africans as simply pawns in his struggle to weld power to keep his precious Union intact. We were nothing more than a bargaining chip. In fact, the North wanted industrialization, which was being financed from seed money produced from slavery, because it was a much more efficient and profitable system of production. Obviously, machines produce faster than human hands and the developing Northern capitalists correctly saw the cotton gin as a vast improvement over the ability of our people to pick cotton by hand. The South, seeing slavery as a critical element of their crass white supremacist identity, was not nearly as interested in efficiency. The class struggle was intense in the South. There was not nearly as much to delineate the difference between poor white people and the enslaved Africans except the fact the white people were not Africans and this was all the small white aristocrats in the South had to motivate the exploited white workers. And it worked then just as it continues to work today. So, the threat in September of 1862 did not work so Lincoln issued the final Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, officially ending slavery as a method of recruiting recently "freed" Africans to fight on the side of the North against their former slave masters. These Africans, understanding that the fall of the South meant an end to slavery, fought courageously and valiantly, thus securing the only real chance the federal government had of keeping this country united as one political entity.
Still, African people were never the concern or the priority in any of this. So, although Lincoln signed the document, he and his administration took no steps to make the process public beyond the word reaching those Africans who would abandon the plantations and conscript with the North. So, Africans in states like Texas didn't even receive word that slavery had ended until Northern troops, many of them Africans, advised them on June 19th, 1863, thus launching the celebration that would forever be known as Juneteenth, or the officially recognized end of slavery in the U.S.
There were still problems and the federal government still never recognized slavery as being officially over until the 13th amendment was added to the so-called constitution (toilet paper) on January 1, 1865, or as the Civil war wound down to its conclusion. So, African people celebrate June 19th, or Juneteenth in this country as the African independence day. Its understandable because July 4th, 1776, or the so-called Declaration of Independence (more toilet paper), was enacted 87 years before the Emancipation Proclamation so although the official history of this country ignores Juneteenth and acknowledges July 4th as the day of freedom in the country, clearly African people have no reason to celebrate and respect July 4th for any reason that can be categorized as sane. I choose to honor Juneteenth as a way of acknowledging the overwhelming sacrifices of my ancestors, but I look more at African Liberation Day as the day that symbolizes our desire to be free, not just in the U.S., but all over the world. This makes sense to me because the transatlantic slave trade and colonialism were systems of oppression that were and are linked and they were international events, just as our struggle for liberation is an international fight, but I still ride with all my people who recognize Juneteenth.
And although most Europeans know nothing about Juneteenth, like most everything else in this country, that has absolutely no impact on how we look at anything. Our journeys through this society are always on different pathways. I read something the other day where one of these intensely ignorant right wing idiots was vomiting out how white people fought to end slavery and we should be thankful to them, blah, blah, blah. It was just a reminder as today should be for everyone that the Civil war was fought to preserve the development of the Union as one capitalist entity. Had that not happened, there is no way the U.S. would have industrialized and emerged after World War II as the preeminent power in the world. So, stop spreading ignorance by saying the Civil war was fought to end slavery. Ending slavery was simply a tactic to expedite defeating the South so capitalism could grow and expand. Any African in their right mind has absolutely no responsibility to be thankful to racist Lincoln or anyone in the U.S. for the eradication of slavery. The fact we were resisting slavery, often violently, throughout this country and all over the Caribbean, Central America, and South America for that matter, made the prospect of continuing the institution untenable and all the developing white capitalists recognized this. It was only the street level racism of the South that prevented them from seeing this. And it apparently prevents a lot more white people from understanding and seeing any of this today. Either way, our journey has never been defined based on what white people see or believe. We will continue to use Juneteenth as a vehicle to educate our people about the real purpose of the Civil war, how our labor produced capitalism for our enemies and how our salvation is intrinsically linked to our ability to redeem Africa under the opposite of capitalism - scientific socialism!