A powerful letter from my great-great-grandfather, who escaped slavery in 1855

Happy #Juneteenth

ideas.ted.com

How a letter written in 1855 gave Kyra Gaunt a whole new perspective on slavery.

White Americans aren’t the only ones who don’t like to remember slavery and its history.

According to the Office of Minority Health, in 2012 there were 43.1 million people who identify as African-American. I could lay money that, next year, fewer than 1 percent will publicly celebrate the 150th anniversary of June 19th, or what we call “Juneteenth” — also known as Freedom Day and Emancipation Day — even though the holiday is recognized in 43 of our so-called United States. It was on this day in 1865 that, two years after Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, the state of Texas freed the last enslaved Africans in America.

Many African-Americans don’t have detailed stories about our enslaved ancestors or their escape. At least, my family didn’t. When I grew up, no one in our…

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