(COVID-19): Campus Health Updates
6/18/2020 (CORRECTION ISSUED) - Daily COVID-19 Graduate Division Update
Dear Graduate Students, Post-Docs, Grad Advisors, and others who get my emails,
I apologize for further filling your inboxes, but I wanted to write to you with a quick follow-up. The information I sent you earlier about Juneteenth wasn’t accurate. I was rushing and pulled facts from a government website [worrisome in its own way], because I could not remember the details from my last history class. Big thanks to the post-doc who alerted me to these mistakes. I learn something every day, and today was a good reminder to fact check, even if that means doing it two or three times. This is a case where correction is warranted.
Here is some more accurate information:
- A quick summary from Britannica: https://www.britannica.com/topic/Juneteenth
- A longer summary by Henry Louis Gates Jr: https://www.pbs.org/wnet/african-americans-many-rivers-to-cross/history/what-is-juneteenth/
- Texas and Louisiana WERE in the Confederacy: https://www.nps.gov/civilwar/facts.htm; https://www.battlefields.org/learn/primary-sources/secession-acts-thirteen-confederate-states
- I did not mean to imply that it was a bureaucratic “oops” that the news did not reach all of Texas. My understanding, and I am not an historian, is that some of this was due to the West Texans still fighting for two months following the end of the war, some was due to the tough terrain and widespread nature of the state, but mostly the delay was due to the slaveholders keeping secret the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation from enslaved people, so that they could keep enslaving them. In a particularly cruel series of acts, plantation owners in many cases delayed informing the enslaved people working on their farms until after the harvest, and when now legally free people attempted to leave, they were often murdered.
- There is an organization dedicated to the spread of awareness and observance of Juneteenth: http://www.juneteenth.com/
Here are some more sources I found while trying to correct my errors:
- Jaynes, Gerald David (2005). "Juneteenth". Encyclopedia of African American Society. SAGE Publications. pp. 481–482.
- Knight, Gladys L. (2011). "Juneteenth". Encyclopedia of African American Popular Culture. Greenwood. pp. 798–801.
- Taylor, Charles A. (2002). Juneteenth: A Celebration of Freedom. Open Hand Pub Llc.
I was also asked by one student why UCI does not observe Juneteenth as a day off. I don’t know how the state of California determines its holidays. As far as I know, most states recognize Juneteenth but do not take the day off. Texas takes it as a day off.
There is a growing push to make Juneteenth a federal holiday, and should you want to push for that, I encourage you to reach out to the same lawmakers I listed earlier.
Apologies again for getting these important facts wrong. If there are any historians on this list who study this era, we would love to highlight you, and I am always happy to learn more.
All my best,
Kleist Professor of Informatics
Vice Provost for Graduate Education
Dean of the Graduate Division