MSU marks Juneteenth

Andrea Johnson/MDN Louis “Mac” McLeod spoke during a ceremony to commemorate Juneteenth, a federal holiday in honor of the end of slavery.

Minot State University marked Juneteenth, a commemoration of the ending of slavery, on Monday.

Speaker Louis “Mac” McLeod told the audience that he was about 25 before he knew all of the history of Juneteenth, which became a state holiday in Texas in 1979 and was only made a federal holiday in the United States last year.

The holiday is considered the oldest national celebrated commemoration of slavery’s end. It marks the anniversary of the date that federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, to take control of the state, two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.

“Why did it take so long (to become a holiday)?” McLeod said. “Why is it taking so long for us to be truly Americans? Why do we have all the discontent that we have?”

McLeod, who is the executive director of the Minot Area Homeless Coalition, a retired Air Force veteran, and an ordained minister, was also active in the civil rights movement.

He told the crowd that he believes nothing happens without God having a plan for it to happen and God ordained that slaves would be freed.

Juneteenth became a federal holiday in part due to the efforts of Opal Lee, a 90-year-old retired teacher who is now called the grandmother of Juneteenth, said McLeod. He said Juneteenth is part of the history of the United States and it is important to remember all of its history and to put it into context.

“It does us well to remember the struggles of so many from 1865 to today,” said McLeod. “Civil rights for all continues to be a battle. Until we are all seen as one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all, the struggle will continue.”


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