First Lady Melania Trump commemorates Juneteenth, a new annual holiday commemorating the abolishment of slavery in the United States, reading a children’s book, ‘All Different Now,” about the Emancipation Proclamation.
“Today we celebrate #Juneteenth, the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States,” Melania tweeted with the video attached Friday morning.
The book by Angela Johnson tells a story of a little girl and her family who were freed in Texas and sheds light on the first Juneteenth through her eyes.
“It is the story of the first Juneteenth through the eyes of a little girl,” she said.
Before the three minute reading of the children’s book, Melania mentioned the ongoing nationwide protest that was sparked by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis
“As our country works through the racial issues that we still face today, it is important to remember we are one global community,” Melania said. “Let’s all agree that any differences we have should be celebrated and learned from.”
The First Lady also recalled her first solo international trip she took in 2018 to Ghana, remarking on the tour to the House of Slaves and the Door of No Return.
“Today, I will be thinking about my trip to Ghana, in West Africa, where I was so moved to take a tour of the house of slaves and stepped through the ‘Door of No Return,’ a memorial to the Atlantic slave trade,” Melania said as video pictures of her during the Ghana tour played. “My hope for everyone today is that by understanding and reflecting on even the worst part of our country’s past, we can commit to lifting each other up and celebrating the freedom we all deserve.”
Melania concluded by saying “God bless every American and God bless America.”
The uplifting video marking Juneteenth from Melania comes a day after her unannounced visit to the National Archives in Washington D.C., where she was accompanied by Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson. During the tour, both the First Lady and Carson viewed the Juneteenth proclamation known as General Order Number 3, the exhibits of the 13th and 19th Amendments, as well as the 1965 Act that created the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
“Today, @SecretaryCarson & I visited the @USNatArchives to view the Emancipation Proclamation & Charters of Freedom. The significance behind these documents is an important reminder that our nation is built on the principles of freedom, liberty & equality for all. #Juneteenth,” Melania tweeted late Thursday.
“The National Archives is a treasured sanctuary for the written word and a monument to the principles of liberty, justice, and equality for all,” Melania said, according to a White House read-out of the visit. “During our country’s long march towards freedom, the Emancipation Proclamation and the Charters of Freedom continue to reaffirm our country’s democratic ideals and the values that have inspired me and all Americans to this day.”
President Trump on Friday also celebrated Juneteenth by releasing a presidential message.
“The First Lady and I send our warmest greetings to those celebrating Juneteenth this year, the presidential message reads. “Juneteenth reminds us of both the unimaginable injustice of slavery and the incomparable joy that must have attended emancipation. It is both a remembrance of a blight on our history and a celebration of our Nation’s unsurpassed ability to triumph over darkness.”
“This Juneteenth, we commit, as one Nation, to live true to our highest ideals and to build always toward a freer, stronger country that values the dignity and boundless potential of all Americans,” the presidential messages continued.
Juneteenth commemorates the day in 1865 when Union Army Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger rode into Galveston, Texas, and told a group of slaves that the Civil War had ended and that they had been freed. Two years before Juneteenth, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect on January 1, 1863, that freed enslaved Black people in many states.