Dear SoM Faculty, Staff and Students:
Juneteeth is the oldest known celebration honoring the end of slavery in the United States. On this date, in 1865, Union General Gordon Granger led thousands of federal troops to Galveston, Texas to announce that the Civil War had ended, and slaves were free. Although the Emancipation proclamation had been signed on January 1, 1863, and General Lee had surrendered to General Grant at Appomattox Courthouse two months earlier, Juneteenth is when news of both events reached African Americans in Texas. More important, it made emancipation real.
Although the Emancipation Proclamation and Union victory ended slavery in the United States, it did not end racism – sometimes subtle, sometimes overt, pervasive and all too often, institutionalized.
Whether celebrating Juneteenth has been your family’s tradition for decades or the day was previously unknown to you, I hope you will reflect on its significance for our country, our shared values and our commitment to freedom at home and around the world.
Here at USU, the home of “America’s Medical School” we have a special responsibility to live up to the ideals our nation represents, without ignoring its past and present flaws.
At a time when we are confronting enormous challenges to America’s health, economy, society and national security, our nation needs USU’s leadership, scientific discoveries, educational excellence and high-performing graduates more than ever.
Arthur L. Kellermann, MD, MPH, FACEP
Professor and Dean
F. Edward Hébert School of Medicine – “America’s Medical School”
Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences