The following is a message from Dr. Marc Spencer, Summer Search CEO.
Dear Summer Search Community,
A total of 32,490 days elapsed between July 4, 1776 and June 19, 1865. For Earth, that was just under 89 orbits around the Sun.
For the policymakers, legislators, and politicians running the newly-formed United States of America, it was 89 years of disagreement punctuated with five years of Civil War killing upwards of 750,000 soldiers and countless civilians.
Despite the best efforts of President Abraham Lincoln’s 1862 Emancipation Proclamation, the last of the enslaved gained freedom on June 19, 1865 in Galveston, Texas. This day came to be known as “Juneteenth.”
During those same 89 years, millions of human beings suffered, fought, survived, were murdered, and died in the pursuit of that which our country declares unalienable:
“Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
The generations of individuals forced into slavery, predominately of African or Afro-Caribbean descent, knew that their freedom was nobody’s to question, let alone own or exploit. My ancestors, as well as the ancestors of many Summer Searchers, endured unspeakable horrors and refused to have their light extinguished.
Though, slavery did not simply appear in the land that would become the United States on July 4, 1776. The first enslaved Africans, from Angola, were kidnapped by Portuguese slavers, trafficked across the Atlantic Ocean, and arrived in Jamestown, Virginia on August 20, 1619. When Georgia became the 13 British-American colony in 1732, all 13 economies relied heavily on the enslaved.
There were 57,287 days between August 20, 1619 and July 4, 1776. That’s just under 157 orbits around the Sun.
Lest we forget, in October of 1492 Christopher Columbus and his era of colonizers arrived in what they called the “New World” and systematically enslaved, displaced, and extinguished the land’s Native American and Indigenous peoples.
There were 136,110 days between October 12, 1492 and August 20, 1619 -- just under 127 years.
On Saturday, June 19, 2021, the Nation celebrates Juneteenth National Independence Day. It’s been 156 years since the last of the enslaved won their emancipation in Texas.
Today, we have the ability to fully address the reverberations of our land and country’s systemic inhumanity.
Each day is an opportunity for the Summer Search orbit to exact positive change. I challenge you to engage with the world and speak your truths. Years from now, we will look back upon the paths we’ve chosen with pride. We will look at the country we’ve built and know that we helped make “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness” unalienable for all Americans.
Dr. Marc Spencer
Summer Search CEO
Header photo: Summer Search students on a wilderness experience from 2012.