My guest, Annette Gordon-Reed, is a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and Harvard professor who has written a new book called “On Juneteenth.” It’s part history, part memoir. She’s from East Texas. She’s a historian of slavery and the early American republic. Her other books include “Thomas Jefferson And Sally Hemings: An American Controversy” and “The Hemingses Of Monticello: An American Family.” She edited the book “Race On Trial: Law And Justice In American History.”
Annette Gordon-Reed, welcome to FRESH AIR. I learned a lot that I’m really happy I learned from your new book. So let me ask you to give a fuller version of what Juneteenth represents.
ANNETTE GORDON-REED: Well, Juneteenth represents the end of slavery – technically the end of slavery in Texas in 1865. And it has been a day to commemorate what we know – and we know from the way they acted – the joy of people who were enslaved in Texas when they heard the news that slavery was over and being treated as chattel – those days were behind them and they were supposed to be – then go forward as equal people in the place where they lived.
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