Juneteenth: Bill Nye ‘Man of Science’ educated after posts about American founding and slavery

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“Scientific Man” Bill Nye caused a stir on social media when he posted about American founding and slavery.

“The America we know today was built by the labor of enslaved black Americans,” he said on Sunday, June 19, federally recognized Juneteenth.

Bill Nye attends the premiere of “The End Is Nye” during the 2022 Tribeca Festival at the SVA Theater in New York City on June 17, 2022.
(Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty for Tribeca Festival)

Holding a pocket constitution and a simple selfie, Nye added: “The last one was not released (officially) until June 19, 1865. Let’s celebrate — never forget.”

The post sparked a backlash almost immediately, as some users disagreed with Juneteeth ending slavery.

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June 19 commemorates the day U.S. General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas on June 19, 1865, and shared the news that the Emancipation Proclamation had been passed two years earlier. The Civil War ended in the first two months of June 1865.

Last year, Juneteenth became the 12th nationally federal holiday It passed by a vote of 415 to 14 in the House of Representatives.

President Joe Biden signed the bill into law on June 17, 2021.

Juneteenth: What is it and why do we celebrate it?

While the date symbolized emancipation—often referred to as “Second Independence Day”—several states still allowed slavery to continue.

Several other users disagreed that America was built entirely “by enslaved black American labor” as Native Americans, and immigrants from Europe, South and Central America, Africa, Australia, and Asia also helped build the country.

In December 1865, six months after Juneteenth, slaves were officially released after the 13th Amendment was passed.

“Slavery and involuntary servitude shall not exist in the United States or anywhere under its jurisdiction except as punishment for a crime for which a party should be duly convicted,” the Thirteenth Amendment reads.

Bill Nye speaks at the Global Citizen NOW Summit on May 23, 2022 at Spring Studios in New York City.

Bill Nye speaks at the Global Citizen NOW Summit on May 23, 2022 at Spring Studios in New York City.
(Photo by Rob Kim/Getty Images)

It should be noted that slavery was discovered after the amendment was ratified, and human trafficking known as forced labor continues to this day.

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The International Labour Organization (ILO) reports that there are more than 40 million victims of human trafficking worldwide, with hundreds of thousands believed to be in the United States.

The ILO, recognized as the official record-keeper by the US State Department, reported 10,583 cases of human trafficking in the US last year and 73,946 since 2007.

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