Washington, D.C. --
On June 19, 1865, shortly after the fall of the last Confederate forces, U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger in Galveston, Texas issued General Order No. 3 advising the people of the state that all slaves were free. Through the years, the date has become known as Juneteenth. Also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, Juneteenth National Independence Day was made a federal holiday when President Biden signed it into law on June 17, 2021.
In observance of Juneteenth, the office of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Manpower and Reserve Affairs released a video message from the Department of the Navy’s Chief Diversity Officer Mr. Robert D. Hogue.
“Juneteenth is an opportunity for us to remind ourselves and each other that emancipation came too late for some,” said Hogue. “Let us remember those who were enslaved, here and elsewhere, so that we might understand just a sliver of the joy that Juneteenth offers.”
While the holiday offers the opportunity to celebrate resilience, resistance, and liberation, Hogue believes it is important to note that although General Granger spoke in Galveston not just of freedom, but "an absolute equality of personal rights," absolute equality was not immediately realized.
In fact, after nearly 250 years of slavery in America, Juneteenth was followed by brutally enforced segregation, Jim Crow, and legally enforced inequality. Black Americans still had to fight for their freedom: their right to vote, to hold political office, to pursue education, to hold property, and to ensure their own safety and prosperity.
Despite all that, and even when confronted with threats of violence and death, African American leaders and activists created institutions of higher learning, local governance, the arts, faith, and more.
Hogue believes these successes were built on the struggles and achievements of those who went before, and secured by the blood shed during the Civil War; that the great price this country has paid to ensure freedom must be matched by a commitment to the American ideal of equality for all. He says Juneteenth calls us to recognize both the sacrifices made and the remarkable achievements, so that our country can move forward fully mindful of its past.
As the DON’s chief diversity officer, Hogue leads the implementation of an enterprise-level DON diversity, equity, and inclusion strategy, synchronizes key policies and initiatives, and ensures alignment with the office of the Secretary of Defense.
Hogue currently serves as the acting DON ASN as well as the principal deputy assistant secretary. In this role, he is responsible for the overall supervision and oversight of DON manpower and reserve component affairs, including the development of programs and policy related to military personnel (active, reserve, retired), their family members, and the civilian workforce. He oversees the DON’s office of equal employment opportunity; sexual assault prevention program office; naval education; manpower, analytics, and human resources systems; diversity, equity, and inclusion; and DON’s lifecycle management of senior executives across the department.
For more information about ASN Mr. Robert D. Hogue, visit https://www.secnav.navy.mil/mra/Pages/default.aspx or https://www.secnav.navy.mil/donhr/About/Senior-Executives/Biographies/Hogue,%20R.pdf