Why Juneteenth Should Matter to the Church

Exploring the historical, cultural, and theological significance of Juneteenth.

On June 19, 1865, the Union Army arrived in Galveston, Texas, to inform enslaved Black Americans that the Civil War was over and slavery had been abolished. They were free. President Abraham Lincoln had actually announced his Emancipation Proclamation two years earlier, on January 1, 1863. But for a variety of reasons, the more than 250,000 enslaved people in Texas did not receive the news of their freedom until this June day. Their initial shock soon turned to celebration.

Juneteenth—also known as Emancipation Day—commemorates this important moment in American history. (The name is a mashup of the words “June” and “nineteenth.”) Last year, Juneteenth was officially declared a federal holiday. But it’s much more than another festive date on the calendar. For American Christians, it’s an opportunity to give thanks for our nation’s progress while also meditating on the change still necessary for us to truly act justly, love mercy, and reflect the unity and diversity of God’s heavenly kingdom.

On June 15, Our Daily Bread’s Rasool Berry, CT’s Russell Moore, and other Christian thought leaders assembled for a virtual roundtable on the enduring significance of Juneteenth and how this pivotal event in American history points to the biblical visions of freedom, restoration, and hope. Watch their thoughtful discussion above.

This webinar was co-hosted by Christianity Today and Our Daily Bread Ministries.

Mentioned in the video: Our Daily Bread also invites you to take part in Juneteenth: Our Story of Freedom, a 10-day devotional reading plan. Sign up here to access the digital plan. There’s no cost or obligation.


Rasool Berry

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