Saturday is the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation
This weekend we recognize the 150th anniversary of what would become the Emancipation Proclamation, President Lincoln’s declaration of freedom for American slaves. Lincoln’s Civil War proclamation on September 22, 1862 immediately freed many slaves, made abolition a central part of the conflict, and led to the official end of slavery through the 13th Amendment and to the many great milestones in civil rights since.
Has America realized its dream of equality for all citizens? Our own Race Matters Institute will consider our work done only when the color of a child’s skin can no longer help predict her life outcomes. By that measure, America has a lot left to do. For example, our report on education showed that while 42 percent of white fourth-graders read proficiently, only 16 percent of black students and 18 percent of Hispanic students are at that level.
As President Lyndon Johnson said, “Until justice is blind to color, until education is unaware of race, until opportunity is unconcerned with the color of men’s skins, emancipation will be a proclamation but not a fact.” As we remember the Emancipation Proclamation this weekend, we should keep in mind the many kids for whom the dream of true equity is still unrealized. Learn more by visiting the Race Matters Institute!