Days of Our Lives’ Jackée Harry and James Reynolds Unpack the Significance of an Especially Important Day: ‘There’s a *Lot* People Don’t Know’
Didn’t think you’d be getting a history lesson along with your favorite soap, did you?
Happy Juneteenth! In Salem. Preemptions have put the world of Days of Our Lives slightly behind the real world, but the show has finally made it to the important day. (Unless they end up preempted again… Fingers crossed!) Though this is the first year the United States is officially recognizing Juneteenth (and the reason some folks had off on either Friday or Monday), the holiday has an incredibly long, rich history.
Salem’s celebrating the day with Abe and Paulina’s second (hopefully successful) wedding. Of course, while we’re pretty sure the wedding will be go off without a hitch, we’re a bit more worried about the marriage itself. After all, Abe finally got over Paulina keeping secrets from him during since last wedding and decided he could trust her again — just as she’s keeping one whopper of a secret about Lani killing TR!
Ah, well, one thing at a time. The first is getting through their nuptials — and only Days of Our Lives second onscreen wedding for a Black couple! The first was Eli and Lani, just two years ago.
So, it was wonderfully fitting that the soon-to-be-married couple’s portrayers, Jackée Harry and James Reynolds, sat down to chat about what Juneteenth is and why it’s so important.
Harry shared a little clip of their discussion on the real Juneteenth (as opposed to Salem’s), tweeting “Happy Juneteenth! There’s a lot people don’t know about this important day, but I had the chance to sit down with James Reynolds for a discussion that will hopefully enlighten a few.”
The clip she shared is a short version of a much longer conversation the actors shared, but it got straight to the heart of the holiday and their own!
Happy #Juneteenth! There’s A LOT people don’t know about this important day, but I had the chance to sit down with @lissaandjamesreynolds for a discussion that will hopefully enlighten a few.
— Jackée Harry (@JackeeHarry) June 20, 2022
“I heard about Juneteenth when I was maybe twelve,” Harry told a surprised Reynolds. She, for those who don’t know, was born in North Carolina. And up to this day, she noted, “they party down on Juneteenth. They party hard.”
Reynolds chuckled as she continued, letting folks know that Juneteenth is “known as the Day of Reparations, when the slaves were emancipated by Abraham Lincoln.”
Of course, saying and doing are two different things, and naturally slave owners didn’t exactly jump at the chance to let slaves know they were free. “So, when they found out,” Harry said, “they celebrated!”
Reynolds then picked up the thread, explaining that the Emancipation Proclamation was put out in 1863, “right in the middle of the Civil War. And basically, the Emancipation Proclamation only freed the slaves in the states that were in rebellion. So, the truth of the matter is, slaves weren’t free everywhere.”
Believe it or not, slavery lasted longer in the Union, than the Confederacy. The last two states to abolish it were Delaware and Kentucky with the ratification of the 13th Amendment in 1865. Neither of them rebelled.
Texas, though, was decently far away from the worst of the Civil War being waged in the eastern states. So it seemed, to the rest of the South, like a good place to ship “their slaves,” Reynolds continued, “so that the Union wouldn’t free them. So, they didn’t know,” about the Emancipation Proclamation. “News travels slow, there was no Internet.”
Word didn’t get to Texas until it was announced in Galveston on June 19, 1865 – the origination of Juneteenth.
Check out their full conversation below, along with some personal tales from both actors and a little preview of Abe and Paulina’s wedding!!
Relive the love story that led to a momentous Days of Our Lives‘ first with a photo gallery of Eli and Lani’s romance!
<p>Eli and Lani weren’t together at the time, but seeing as how they were both Salem PD, it was inevitable that they’d run into each other. Seeing her through withdrawal after being exposed to a synthetic drug during a case isn’t exactly the meet-cute most would want, but hey, whatever works, works!</p>
<p>Originally, Lani was with JJ and Eli had been set up with Gabi, but through a series of unfortunate events, the two ended up thinking their significant others were having an affair. They weren’t, but that didn’t stop Lani and Eli from hopping into bed together for a wild night of passion!</p>
<p>Naturally, Lani became pregnant with Eli’s child, which they decided to raise together. Besides, JJ and Gabi weren’t exactly thrilled about the cheating, so those relationships weren’t going anywhere… Sadly, though, Lani and Eli lost their baby, who they named David, after Lani went into labor too early.</p>
<p>Lani worked through her grief over losing David as best she could. The problem, though, was that her version of working through grief was by becoming far too attached to the infant that Rafe was caring for. That didn’t go over well with Eli and their relationship suffered. </p>
<p>By now, though, nothing could keep Eli and Lani down! And no one was happier than Eli’s grandmother, Julie, when he and Lani decided to set a wedding date. Except maybe the fans. But that’s debatable. </p>
<p>On what was to have been the happiest day of their lives, Lani was forced to leave Eli at the altar. Lani was being blackmailed by Gabi, who threatened to harm Eli’s grandmother. Eli was shocked when she tried to convince him she didn’t love him enough to marry him.</p>
<p>Time in Salem went all wibbly, wobbly and jumped forward a year, during which Lani lived in a nunnery in Europe (where she and Kristen became besties!) before returning to Salem. After Gabi’s blackmail scheme was exposed just as <em>she</em> was about to marry Eli, he and Lani reunited and were finally happy again.</p>
<p>Eli was anxious to marry Lani after all the tragedy and manipulation. He put her enagagement ring back on her finger after proposing in Horton’s Square. Lani went to her calendar to set a wedding date and realized she was late. Er, her period was. She was just on time for the engagement. </p>
<p>Pregnant with twins, Lani and Eli married at Julie’s Place with Marlena officiating. While their whole family gathered, an uninvited guest crashed the festivities. Luckily, a gun-toting Vivian was subdued (though keep an eye on her, because she’s coming back to cause trouble later) and the couple successfully jumped the broom.</p>
<p>Shortly after Lani gave birth, Ivan kidnapped the twins from the hospital for his Madame, who was grieving the absence of her own (now adult) twins. Eli and Lani, being cops, tracked them down and rescued the babies they named Carver and Jules, in honor of the twins’ grandparents, Abe and Julie.</p>
<p>The Grants lived in loved-up bliss with their twins for months — until Aunt Paulina showed up. You see, Paulina was actually Lani’s mother, who sent her away to protect her from her abusive father, TR. Unfortunately, he came to town, too and shot Eli, which landed him in a coma.</p> <p> </p>
<p>Upon learning her biological father shot Eli, Lani shot TR dead. However, Paulina took the rap before Lani had a chance to recover from the shock of what she’d done. The lie may have kept Lani out of jail, but it left her drowning in guilt!</p>
<p>It didn’t take long for Lani to break down and confess everything to Eli — at which point he told her to lie, lie and lie! In fact, his biggest problem with her shooting her unarmed father was why she thought it was even a big deal!</p>
<p>Eli <em>thought </em>everything was going fine (other than Lani confessing to seeing her dead dad everywhere, but that’s normal, right?), until his wife broke down at Abe and Paulina’s wedding and confessed her crimes to everyone in attendance. Worse? Eli was the one who had to arrest her. (Wait, wouldn’t he at the least be in trouble for obstructing justice or something?)</p>
<p>Thanks to a plea deal, Lani only got a slap on the wrist and a couple years in jail. But thanks Vivian raising a ruckus in Statesville, it wasn’t safe for Lani to stay there! Instead, Eli and Rafe got her a cushy prison in Maryland, and Eli packed up the entire family to follow her. It was wonderfully romantic… in a twisted, (justifiable?) homicide way. </p>
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