Juneteenth: A day of emancipation, freedom, and reflection

Irene Moore Davis is a Windsor-based educator, writer, historian, activist, and podcaster. She speaks frequently about diversity, inclusion, equity, and African Canadian history. She fulfills a variety of community roles including President of the Essex County Black Historical Research Society, Co-Chair of Black Women of Forward Action, Co-Host of the All Write in Sin City podcast, and Program Chair at BookFest Windsor. Irene has published works of poetry, history, and journalism. Irene was Co-Executive Producer of the short documentary The North Was Our Canaan and a consultant on the documentary The Greatest Freedom Show on Earth. Her new documentary project is titled Across the River to Freedom (anticipated release date in 2022.) She is a graduate of the University of Windsor, Western University, and Queen’s University, and is an administrator at St. Clair College, where she also teaches English, Underground Railroad history, and Black cultural studies.  

 Today, she shares her thoughts around Juneteenth:

On June 19th, 1865–two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation–Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas to share the news that the U.S. Civil War was over and that enslaved African Americans were free. Today, many African Americans continue to celebrate the moment when the last of the enslaved ancestors were liberated. The holiday has grown into a national celebration. On this day, let us remember the hope, striving, and resistance of African-descended ancestors as well as allies from other communities who committed themselves to ending slavery, often at great personal risk. May we all commit ourselves to addressing the present-day issues of racism and discrimination that separate us and keep us from working together in harmony. Let each of us identify at least one thing we can do today to create a better, more equitable world.

Irene Moore Davis, M.A., B.Ed. (she/her)