The Missouri legislature has established June 19th as “Juneteenth” and is a day when all Missourians are to set aside time to remember our freedoms and reflect upon them “as exemplified in the constitution of the United States, the Bill of Rights, and the Emancipation Proclamation…” Emancipation Proclamation Day, known as “Juneteenth” in honor of the first “Juneteenth” celebrated in Texas by former slaves in Galveston, Texas on June 19, 1865. The law goes on to establish a “Missouri Juneteenth Heritage and Jazz Festival and Memorial” and funding for such.
The reason this law includes the Constitution and the Bill of Rights is that the Emancipation Proclamation did not give freedom to all slaves. The causes of the Civil War are very complicated, and President Abraham Lincoln thought that slavery was a matter for individual states to abolish. In a famous quote, he stated that he would do whatever it took to preserve the union, whether it meant freeing the slaves or not.
The Union was losing the war, Lincoln was having trouble consolidating the northern focus, and he needed to give the Union a common cause to unite them. The southern economy was based on slavery, and several Union Generals announced that all Confederate slaves were free in an effort to break the Southern economy and abolish slavery. One, Major General John C. Fremont was fired for abolishing marching into Missouri and declaring all slaves free, an act that Lincoln felt he had no legal right to do.
The Emancipation Act only freed slaves states still in rebellion and not those already occupied by Northern troops or who were never in rebellion (Delaware, for example). Still it made it possible for freed and former slaves to enter the Union Army and fight for their own freedom.
The Constitutional Act that freed the slaves was the 13th Amendment, passed on February 1865, and Ratified by December 1865.
The 14th Amendment defined citizenship in the U.S. as any person born in the U.S. and overrode the Supreme Court decision that slaves could not become citizens of the United States. Ratification by former Confederate States was required before they were allowed to hold seats in the Senate or vote.
The 15th Amendment states that a person may not be denied his vote or rights as a citizenship due to “race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”
For more information:
Emancipation Proclamation Day Established
Juneteenth to be Observed
Historic Missouri Church: Central Baptist Church Legacy
Emancipation Proclamation by Spartacus Schools
Sons of the South: Original historical documents and newspapers regarding slavery and the civil war. Unedited.
Little Dunker Church: Emancipation Proclamation
ST. LOUIS MEMORIAL JUNETEENTH JAZZ & ARTS FESTIVAL
Everything you need to know about: American History Homework by Anne Zeman and Kate Kelly pgs. 66-71
Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution Wikipedia
The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, Wikipedia
Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Wikipedia