Men in Civil War uniforms take part in a 1900 re-enact the Union’s 1865 entry into Galveston.

Today, many Americans are celebrating Juneteenth – to mark June 19, 1865, when roughly 2,000 Union troops marched into Galveston, Texas, to announce that 250,000 slaves in the state were now free. While Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee had surrendered two months earlier, many Texas slaveholders refused to release their slaves until that day.

On strictly historical grounds, this is a triumphal moment for the cause of fundamental human rights. If this is truly what Juneteenth celebrations are all about, then why does the day solicit so much cultural controversy?

The problem is that Juneteenth has been commandeered by cultural leftists in an effort to cast America as a continually – and fundamentally – racist nation that has made precious little – if any – progress.
Rather than celebrate our nation’s long march to ever greater civil rights protections, the left uses occasions like Juneteenth to suggest that America was founded by evil bigots who were hell bent on perpetuating racial injustices. Hence, we see Juneteenth events promoting critical race theory and condemning white supremacy with no acknowledgement of the great strides America has achieved thanks to its founding documents and the struggle to live up to this remarkable creed.

A transgender performer is featured at a Pride/Juneteenth event in Homer on June 17.

But there’s something else happening, which is equally disturbing. This day is held hostage by the LGBTQ movement, which intentionally conflates sexual identity politics with the historic civil rights movement. Here in Alaska and around the nation, Juneteenth events pair these movements together – equating the fight against slavery with demands to let gender-confused men use women’s toilets and compete against female athletes, while pushing for radical sex-ed curriculum, bodily mutilation of gender-confused kids and pornographic books in community libraries.

As conservatives we should be able to recall and commemorate the moment when enslaved Texans discovered they were officially freed from the yoke of slavery. We cannot, however, take part in bastardized programs that distort this day in order to cast aspersions on our nation, pollute our morals and conflate the hard-fought freedoms of our black brothers and sisters with the radical identity politics of the hard left.

Here’s a great introduction to the true meaning of June 19, 1865.

The views expressed here are those of the author.

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Why is Juneteenth controversial?

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 24 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.


  • Ceak says:

    I hate that I get annoyed at the Juneteenth celebrations. I think it’s a great holiday to remember how far we’ve come and to celebrate the freedom from slavery. You’re right about the lgbtq groups taking it over. Why can’t Juneteenth have the spotlight? Why does Pride have to come in? It’s like the lgbtq attach themselves to say “look how oppressed we all are!”

    • DoneWithIt says:

      Juneteeth is a legitimate holiday celebrating the end of slavery in America.
      Pride Month is a movement to redefine words, truth, science, and decency.

    • Proud Alaskan says:

      Because pride cometh before the fall, just a bunch of sick woke individuals.
      Remember God created us all.
      Red, Yellow, Black and White.

  • Mboll says:

    The sooner we stop talking about, keeping it the forefront the sooner it will go away.

    • Lucinda says:

      keeping what away from the forefront exactly?

      • Independent Observer says:

        The longer one makes reference to any topic, the longer it remains relevant to the individual or group. Even well respected and highly thought of people of color have stated this publicly. Like most of us, they too are sick and tired of the constant beckoning of a few inflammatory incidents being held hostage to further their cause. Not everything that occurs has nefarious intent. As a childhood illustration promotes; the more you pick at a scab, the longer it will take for the wound to heal. Focus on the positive side of this issue and ground can be gained helping all to rise above the fray and see the distance we have come, unless that is the motive – to keep it inflamed.

  • Ruth Ewig says:

    Our Marxist/leftists in our legislature wrote a bill to add Juneteenth to the calendar in Alaska. Our state was copying the nationwide movement without input from We The People. The slavery issue has been kidnapped by the Leftist/Marxist movement with god-haters who want to place our Great America in a negative light with distortions to our youth.
    In his essay “What you will never read in public school” (The True History of Slavery) brilliant black economist Thomas Sowell sets the record straight in his essay. An excellent read that can be found online.
    The LGBTQ are the true haters and even hate themselves, yet they keep claiming they are the victims. That is what Marxists do. Marxists accuse and attack the rest of us for doing what they in fact are doing. It’s called “wagged the dog”
    Please read the essay by Sowell and pass it around to everyone you can think of. Keep praying that the Truth will come out about America and how slavery was practiced in most if not all people groups. Blacks owned slaves. Native Americans owned slaves. Many groups enslaved their own. The United States was one of the first countries in the world to outlaw slavery. President John Quincy Adams followed Abraham Lincoln’s leadership when a young man learning from Lincoln. With Adam’s persistent condemnation of slavery in the Congress, the law was finally passed outlawing it. As per Sowell’s essay, other countries are still involved in the slave trade. Prayer is our most powerful tool. Use it often. Paul said to pray unceasingly. Also read II Chronicles 7:14.

  • Mboll says:

    Luci, Before speaking for the black community you might want to do a little research and listen to what prominent members of said community think about racism in the US.

    • Lucinda says:

      Mbool. I Doubt you could be more vague. I doubt you even understand what you were trying to say.

  • Lucinda says:

    Independent Observer
    You wrote: “a few inflammatory incidents”, “Not everything that occurs has nefarious intent”, “Focus on the positive side of this issue”. Are you referring to slavery? Please say no, otherwise you are the Grand Wizard of bigotry and racism.