The Effects of Juneteenth on the Healthcare Industry
Although the Emancipation Proclamation was signed in 1863, it was not until June 19, 1865 that all slaves were given freedom. During the Civil War, over four(4) million ‘blacks’ and natives took sick and died. President Lincoln established the Freedom Bureau to facilitate hospitals and clinics for the newly freed slaves.
Still, as the years continued, non-caucasian people were banned from many places and services denied. Despite the increase in blacks as doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers, healthcare services to sick ‘blacks’ were sparse and/or inadequate as racism continued.
The Jim Crow law and systematic racism flourished until fearless black leaders such as Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke up. At the National Conventional of Medical Committee of Human Rights, in Chicago, March 25, 1966, King said, “of all forms of inequality, injustice in healthcare is the most shocking and inhumane.”
In 1980, Texas became the first state to recognize “Juneteenth’ as a holiday. On June 17, 2021, President Joe Biden, signed a federal legislation commemorating June 19th, Juneteenth as a national holiday.