Juneteenth’s a celebration of Liberation Day
When word of emancipation reached Texas slaves they say.
In sorrow were we brought here to till a harvest land.
We live and died and fought here
‘Til freedom was at hand.

They tore apart our families
They stole life’s nascent breath.
Turned women into mammies
And worked our men to death.

They shamed the very nation
Which fostered freedom’s birth
It died on the plantation
Denying man his worth.

But greed and misplaced honor
Brought crisis to a head
And Justice felt upon her
The weight of Union Dead.

They fought to save a nation.
And yet they saved its soul
From moral condemnation
And made the country whole.

But when the war was waning
And the battle was in doubt.
The soldiers were complaining
An many dropping out.

There seemed but one solution
Which might yet save the day.
Although its execution
Loomed several months away.

The Congress was divided.
The Cabinet as well.
Abe did his best to hide it.
And no one did he tell.

He meant to sign an order
To deal the South a blow.
The Mason Dixon border
And the Rebel states below

Would now have to contend with
The Freedman on their land.
For slavery had endeth
For woman, child and man.

The time 18 and 63
The first day of the year.
But June of 65 would be
The time we would hold dear.

For that would be when Freedom’s thought
First saw full light of day.
And justified why men had fought
And died along the way.

Now every June we celebrate
What Lincoln had in mind
The day he did emancipate
The bonds of all mankind.

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Noah Griffin, America 250 Commissioner, is a lifelong student of history and is founder and artistic director of the Cole Porter Society.

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