Juneteenth became a federally recognized holiday last year. This year, Americans celebrate Juneteenth National Independence today, on June 20.  

Short for June 19, Juneteenth commemorates the end of slavery in the United States, when 250,000 enslaved Black Americans in Galveston, Texas were informed of their freedom by Union soldiers, after the Civil War ended.  

The Emancipation Proclamation was an executive order signed by Republican President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863. It legally freed Blacks from slavery. You may not know that it took more than two years for the news to reach all the slaves, especially those living in the South.

Similar to what the mainstream news media does to us today, I would not be shocked if the emancipation news was suppressed to benefit slave owners, who were all Democrats. Rather than reporting honestly about the news, big media systematically holds back the key details of a story when it doesn’t fit their narrative.

Frederick Douglass referred to the Republican Party as the party of “freedom and progress.” He committed his time, talents and treasury to support of the Republican Party. Serving as a leader within the Abolitionist Movement that gave birth to the GOP, it was Douglass who declared political war on slavery.

Thus, the Republican Party was founded in 1854 to end Black American enslavement. That goal was finally realized on June 19, 1865.

The Republican Party has not been the party of choice for Black Americans for nearly 60 years. After being the party that freed the slaves and elected many Black leaders to state and federal offices during the Reconstruction Era, the GOP got it wrong in 1964.

In 1964, the Republican Party nominated, for president, one of only six Republican senators who voted against the Civil Rights Act. His name was Barry Goldwater, and he lost that presidential election in a landslide defeat.

Goldwater was an integrationist and NOT a racist. But, with his “no vote,” Goldwater sided with the racist Democrats, the so-called Dixiecrats. The message the GOP sent by nominating Goldwater was tantamount to saying, "We don’t agree with the Civil Rights Act and the Civil Rights Movement."

It's been a long time since 1964. You would think the GOP would have taken the necessary steps to heal that broken relationship – admitting that they were wrong in nominating Senator Goldwater.

Black Americans did not leave the Republican Party. Most Blacks felt the GOP left them because of Goldwater’s presidential nomination. The decision to choose Goldwater was a slap in the face to Blacks. Several of my relatives were staunch Republicans until 1964. An apology is long overdue.

In my previous editorial entitled Political Homelessness, I shared my thoughts regarding Barry Goldwater’s presidential campaign in more detail.

Black Americans embrace a lot of conservative values: affordable housing, parental choice in education, respect for the U.S. Constitution, the right for the people to own and bear arms, free speech and economic prosperity, to name a few. Instead of using the word “conservative,” I recognize and refer to these values as the “life-empowering” values of Frederick Douglass. Why don’t we refer to them as such?

The truth is that the stakes are very high. We have a Republic to save. The GOP should stop pandering and put forth a serious effort to restore the party’s relationship with Black Americans. I am absolutely convinced the only way we can achieve this is by leveraging the life and liberty message of Frederick Douglass.

We must focus on VALUES to win others. Frederick Douglass’ life-empowering values are the common ground that most Americans agree with, especially Black Americans.

A former member of President Trump’s Coalition Advisory Board, KCarl Smith is the President and CEO of KCarl Consulting Group, empowering freedom advocates with the confidence, knowledge and skills to trump the race card. His column normally appears every Thursday in 1819 News. To contact KCarl or request him for a speaking engagement go to http://kcarlinc.com/bookingsandfeesThe views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of 1819 News. To comment, please send an email with your name and contact information to Commentary@1819News.com