This 19 June 2021 marks the long overdue first officially recognized Juneteenth. This holiday marks the end of slavery in the United States and has been celebrated every 19 June by African American communities since 1866. Now, finally, this historic moment is now broadly recognized at the federal level and will be officially celebrated in the United States for the first time today.
We each should mark this and every Juneteenth by remembering those that were held in bondage and those that sought to free them. It's common to think about Union regiments arriving on the scene to free African American slaves, but we must not forget those brave souls that risked everything to seek freedom for themselves and their loved ones.
One such person was Robert Smalls of Charleston. He led a daring escape, commandeering the steamer CSS Planter and slipping under the Confederate guns to liberate himself and 15 other slaves, including five women, three children, and seven men. It's the stories such as these that I will be remembering and cherishing on this first official celebration, and everyone thereafter that I'm fortunate enough to pass.
To honor Juneteenth, I've pulled together a small pack for my Civil War naval game, Ironclads that includes the Smalls, the Planter, and a scenario that recreates his daring escape. His is an amazing story and I hope that you're as excited to read it as I was to tell it.
Remember them, remember their struggles, remember their courage.