14 Juneteenth Quotes That Honor the Spirit of the Day

“My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.”

Every year, June 19 marks Juneteenth, a day of remembrance of the African American culture, specifically Emancipation Day. On June 19, 1865, General Order No. 3 was read by Union General Gordon Granger in Galveston, Texas. The order informed enslaved Africans in America that they were free.

There are several ways to celebrate the holiday, no matter how much you do (or don't) already know. Start a book, watch a documentary, and spend the day listening and learning about what the day means to the Black community. As you reflect on the history of Juneteenth, these powerful statements from leaders throughout history will help you commemorate the holiday.

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A Never Ending Process

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"Struggle is a never ending process. Freedom is never really won, you earn it and win it in every generation." - Coretta Scott King, Author, Activist, and Civil Rights Leader

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Challenges and Responsibilities

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"Every year we must remind successive generations that this event triggered a series of events that one by one defines the challenges and responsibilities of successive generations. That's why we need this holiday." - Al Edwards, Civil Rights Activist and Texas State Representative

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Prayed for Freedom

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"I prayed for freedom for twenty years, but received no answer until I prayed with my legs." - Frederick Douglass, Author and Abolitionist

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Claim Freedom As Your Own

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"Freedom is not something that one people can bestow on another as a gift. They claim it as their own and none can keep it from them." - Kwame Nkrumah, Prime Minister and President of Ghana

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Basic Human Rights

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"We all require and want respect, man or woman, Black or white. It's our basic human right." - Aretha Franklin, Musician

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Worth Fighting For

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"We are not ready to fight because we love fighting. We are ready to fight because we are worth fighting for." ― Zoé Samudzi, Author and Activist

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Human Together

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"My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together." - Desmond Tutu, Human Rights Activist and Theologian

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Just U.S. History

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"Won't it be wonderful when Black history and Native American history and Jewish history and all of U.S. history is taught from one book. Just U.S. history." - Maya Angelou, Author and Human Rights Activist

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Unique Identities

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"One day our descendants will think it incredible that we paid so much attention to things like the amount of melanin in our skin or the shape of our eyes or our gender instead of the unique identities of each of us as complex human beings." - Franklin Thomas, Former President and CEO of the Ford Foundation

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Words of Emancipation

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"Words of Emancipation didn't arrive until the middle of June so they called it Juneteenth. So that was it, the night of Juneteenth celebration, his mind went on. The celebration of a gaudy illusion." ― Ralph Ellison, Author

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History Yet to Be Made

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"There are still many causes worth sacrificing for, so much history yet to be made." - Michelle Obama, Former First Lady of the United States

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Don't Give Up

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"Just don't give up what you're trying to do. Where there is love and inspiration, I don't think you can go wrong." -Ella Fitzgerald, Musician

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Everybody But Me

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"I swear to the Lord I still can't see why democracy means everybody but me." - Langston Hughes, Author

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Can't Separate Peace from Freedom

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"You can't separate peace from freedom, because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom." - Malcolm X, Human Rights Activist and Minister

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