Juneteenth has long been celebrated in Texas, where long before the age of mass communication slaves didn't learn of their freedom until two years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.
It didn't become a federal holiday until President Joe Biden signed it into law in 2021, a year after the U.S. experienced a racially charged summer after George Floyd died while in police custody in Minneapolis – and while many in the U.S. continued to explore the racially divisive topic of possibly paying reparations to the families of former slaves.
As it stands, slightly more than half the states this year recognize Juneteenth as an official holiday.
"It is incumbent upon us as parents to be the parents, to be the adults, to have these talks, to sit down and not allow our kids to be indoctrinated, but to find the answers within their own home," West said on American Family Radio Monday.
West (right), a former Florida congressman and later a candidate for governor in Texas, told show host Jenna Ellis that Juneteenth should be a time for Republicans to lead the history lesson.
"The Republican Party, the RNC, should be talking about the real history of Juneteenth and how it came about because it's a fulfillment of the establishment of the Republican Party in 1854 to end slavery, to end that physical bondage," West said.
The Republican Party was founded in 1854 as a coalition of former Whig Party members who opposed the expansion of slavery into Western U.S. territories. Lincoln was the first Republican president. Southern Democrats favored slavery in all territories – and West argues that part of history needs to be made clear.
The party that really opposed slavery
"The funny thing is if anyone is going to be apologizing for slavery and wants to take this day as a stand for issuing an apology, it should be the Democrat Party, because Abraham Lincoln was the first Republican president that this country knew, and the Republican Party was established in 1854 on one single issue – and that was to end slavery," West explained.
"The Republican Party with Abraham Lincoln did that with the 13th Amendment. It was opposed by the Democrats. And then citizenship, the 14th Amendment, was opposed by the Democrats; then the 15th Amendment, the right [of former slaves] to vote, was opposed by the Democrats. So, they should be the ones apologizing."
West said Texas Republicans, for whom he served as state chairman, have an especially unique story.
"The Republican Party of Texas was founded by 150 black men and 20 white men on July the Fourth, Independence Day of 1867," he shared. "So basically, four years after the Emancipation Proclamation and then two years after finding out they were finally free, black men established the Republican Party in Texas – not the Democrat Party, the Republican Party," West clarified.