Come Together: Celebrate Juneteenth Day, Lincoln’s Call To Action, And What It Means

2021 is a year of celebration for Bridgeport, Connecticut’s most populous city, a gritty community born 200 years ago when a parent (Stratford) no longer wanted it, prevailing upon the Connecticut Legislature to set it free, fearing the burgeoning neighborhood could control the balance of power in the region.

What a strange set of circumstances, such was life in a young country. About 40 years later, the Daily Standard described a “tall, bony, angular, big jointed figure with a great towering head and very expressive countenance. His eye satisfies you at once that there is brain … intellectual power in the man, and this is the secret of his success.”

McLevy Hall
McLevy Hall, where Lincoln spoke, circa 1900. It was the original City Hall.

On March 10 of 1860 Abraham Lincoln appeared in Washington Hall, now McLevy Hall (renamed after Bridgeport’s longest-serving mayor Jasper McLevy)  with the temerity, fortitude and force of will to appeal to the greater sense of people in the face of incredible odds, ignorance and fear.

Lincoln spoke for two hours, which was described as “an impassioned political speech against slavery.” After his speech, just a minute’s walk to the train, Lincoln returned to New York.

Sometimes in life we make history and we don’t even know we’re making it. And isn’t that the best way? Because it’s not by design which means to achieve the destination the journey must take on a life of its own that requires support from something bigger than the intended goal. Bigger than all of us.

About one year after his appearance in Bridgeport, Lincoln received the oath of office as president of the United States. Just weeks after his reelection, a confederate sympathizer pumped a bullet into Lincoln’s brain.

Lincoln had issued an executive order effective Jan 1, 1863:

That on the first day of January in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State, or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free; and the executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom.

Enforcement was a challenge relying on the advancement of confederate troops more than two years later in some states.

It is commemorated on the anniversary date of the June 19, 1865, announcement of General Order No. 3 by Union Army general Gordon Granger, proclaiming freedom from slavery in Texas.

This weekend, Bridgeport will celebrate Juneteenth Day (hello, why is this not a Connecticut or national holiday?) signifying a time of freedom, revival, expression from government shackles.

Free yourself up. Embrace it. Put all the BS behind you. Understand its meaning.



  1. 2021 Bridgeport Republican Party, time to decide, do you want to be the party of Lincoln or the Party of Trump? Hint: T-rump has no coattails in Bridgeport. Primary Day, September 14, may decide the fate of the party.

    1. News flash comrade, there isn’t an R on the council or remotely relevant in Port politics these days. They can win/hold a seat in Port politics unless it is mandated. So I am not sure why/what you are conjuring up with old news of Trump who lost in the last election. But you don’t need an R to make Juneteenth a national holiday. The guy/party who beat Trump/R can accomplish that. JS

      1. Neighbor, you may be factual and accurate when you connect the words ‘Republican’ and ‘relevance’ within Bridgeport today. And even when there is a mandate for balance of party interests on Boards and Commissions, there is no definition of just who is a D or an R today in any meaningful way. But then City Hall is not big into getting new folks on to Boards and Commissions, assuming they don’t misplace the applications from those who show interest.

        Juneteenth itself is better known today than it has been through school curricula. When Lincoln emancipated those enslaved they were not in a position to automatically and effectively exercise all of their rights. Assisting a person of color to become literate was illegal!! And “White folks” who were used to POWER and their own comfortable narrative kept RECONSTRUCTION from being an active force in the United States of America by withdrawing Federal troops among other acts.
        . Both parties have harbored, at different times more members who were using government to pursue a “white supremacy” agenda. George Floyd’ murder recorded for all by a young bystander with relevant technology changed things. Today many folks are using critical race theory to attack those who continue to seek fair, full, and equal rights to pursue their version of happiness under the law of the land.

        Many folks of color in Bridgeport and surroundings have come to the US from countries where Juneteenth did not occur, but racist history on this side of the Atlantic was similar and everyone can enjoy a parade, good food and entertainment,

        Most important is that Bridgeport governance today suffers from a lack of competition, invitation to excel, and learning from mistakes.. Accountability on many municipal subjects is ignored and oversight is neither basic nor practiced. Second chances for individuals to do well or better than before at least, seem difficult to prove, at least in terms of caring about others, the people of the City. And civil service laxity, police department disorganization or corruption, and school system results disappoint and show little reason to brag about “one party rule”, though it may keep those in power secure. Time will tell

        1. Neighbor, you may be factual and accurate as to there being a fine line of what defines an R or a D, today. Case in point, our sponsor to the thread. Right Comrade Joe. 🙂

          I will challenge you that Juneteenth is better known today because of school curricula. Nothing commemorates an event than a celebration/parade. I bet schools rarely point out/emphasize the party behind why qualified freed blacks couldn’t effectively exercise their rights given to them after Lincoln’s emancipation, or what white folks/party prevented reconstruction from being an active force in America. However, I did hear Trump, through “executive order” gave long-term funding for those Historically Black Colleges built during Reconstructions.

          You also may be factual and accurate about the power of being literate, then and now. You may be even surprised by the obstacles to keep it that way, I know first hand. Just a reminder it took a pandemic for the Port to incorporate tech in its schools.

          Both parties have harbored, at different times, people who hold racist sentiments, as well as they both harbored people who don’t. However, to attach the word “white” to supremacy can come off as racist in itself, especially to those whites who are not. Take yourself, you are white. Are you inherently a racist, and a white American oppressor, like critical race theory suggests? That being said, racism and inclination should not be confused. like a blonde or brunette or thick or thin. 🙂

          Technology has changed things, but how it’s used is important too, Although, people still see what they want to see.

          Take, George Floyd’s death being used as a means to attack in the pursuit of equality/justice for all. Some things I understood, some things I didn’t. Well other than conjuring up inherent emotions.

          Someone will have to explain how harassing people in a restaurant, and white (Antifa) tagging and setting fire to buildings in minority communities, or elected officials telling their police to pull out an autonomous zone where police did not allow them to enter and let the people control it, was a call for justice. Yet, Jan 6 is all you hear about being a threat to this country.

          The Rs and Ds are sometimes hard to define, some say so is critical race theory, that is Marxism being rebranded, or how that worked out for the people. I know it didn’t work out for the people in CHAZ.

          That is factually and accurate too. Many folks of color in Bridgeport and throughout this country have come from other countries, but we tend to forget to get about it and let it fade to be used for one’s agenda, even try to cancel it in/remove it from our collective being, in name of “white supremacy”

          Take the Italians, Romans, Columbus Day. When they first arrived in American they were far from being considered white by those “white supremacists” in charge. Nothing in their history suggests anything otherwise, from their conception of the Etruscans, who landed on their shores and conquered the inhabitants, and their rise to power. Some historians considered Rome, at that time, to be a modern-day New York City. Or the fact everything about Columbus was Latin. The last time I checked, Latins were not white either.

          P.S I would be careful of using the words, lack of learning from mistakes, and second chances for individuals to do so well or better than before 🙂

          1. Neighbor,
            My original post covered several items, but what the lack of two party system has allowed to happen in Bridgeport was ignored by you, it seems. Care to put some forward looking thoughts on that one. Or perhaps you are more than satisfied by the way our local ‘democracy” provides for the people and their rights? Time will tell.

          2. Sure neighbor, I will give my thoughts, however, I do believe I addressed them in my prior post. 🙂

            Considering the Port’s lack of a two-party system and the absence of the R’s (Trump) you would think the Port’s governance would be right as rain under democracy’s democrat rule, No! 🙂

            So the questions perhaps are is one’s satisfaction or lack of the Port’s governance is more about our local ‘democracy” or is it more about the democracy’s Democrat ruling party that has allowed it to happen to the Port. 🙂

            Either way that’s democracy at its core, your neighbors have spoken, no! The will of the majority. Or perhaps your dissatisfaction is aimed at the lack of rights democracy has given the minority and not your neighbors.

            or perhaps 🙂



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