It's Juneteenth

Posted June 19, 2020

I'm sure you all know that Juneteenth is the day we celebrate the true end of slavery here in the United States.

Greenwich Village has long been both a haven of diversity and a center for progress, so we weren't surprised when we stumbled upon the story of Sarah Smith Garnet and her husband, Henry Highland Garnet. (Yes, we continue to be fans of history.)

The Garnets lived at 175 Macdougal Street in the 1880s. Sarah was the first female African-American physician in the New York City school system. She also founded the Equal Suffrage League, the first suffrage organization founded by and dedicated to fighting for the right to vote for black women, way back in the 1880s.

Her husband Henry was a minister, educator, and orator, and became the first African-American to address the U.S. House of Representatives. His famous Call to Rebellion speech in 1843 encouraged slaves to rise up against their masters.

Henry was ahead of his time. Juneteenth didn't happen until 1865, when Union army general Fordon Granger read the federal orders freeing slaves in the city of Galveston, TX, proclaiming that all slaves in Texas were now free. (Remember that Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation a full three years earlier. Southern slaveowners felt it was in their best interest to keep their slaves in the dark.)

The more we dig into our neighborhood history, the prouder we become.

Image via Ron Mader/Flickr