There's no denying it. United States has a cruel history, especially when it comes to the Indigenous people who were already here when Christopher Columbus sailed his tail over here; and the enslaved Africans brought here to build this country for free. This weekend, Juneteenth celebrations will be held all over the Country. There will be local politicians speaking to the significance of Juneteenth, dancing, food, and music. And, the messaging across social media will be: "Juneteenth: Freedom Day!" But, is it...really?
Let me give you the backstory. President Abraham Lincoln freed the enslaved African-Americans in 1863 by virtue of the Emancipation Proclamation after the bloody Civil War between the North and South. Some say the war was over the abomination and abolition of slavery, but others say it was over economics and political control. I'll have to be save this debate for another day. Now, the enslaved people, my people, were not immediately freed, at least not without all sorts of retaliation from Southerners and Northerners, alike. And, the Confederacy in Gavelston, Texas had the audacity not to tell them that they were free at all!! On June 19, 1865, the Union Troops personally delivered the message to the people in Texas. Can you imagine the relief in knowing they were finally emancipated and the grief in knowing it should have been two years sooner? History tells us that the formerly enslaved African-Americans celebrated with dance and song on that day and every year since. In 1980, Texas recognized Juneteenth as a state holiday. In 2021, it was made a federal holiday.
Here's the thing. Juneteenth has become a National celebration of Black freedom. Yet, African-Americans are still being slain for no other reason than the color of our skin. And, we are behind the status quo for every basic function in society. We are given June 19th to celebrate our survival, strength, and courage, which is nice. But, jobs and equal standing would be nice, too.
My neighborhood is sponsoring a fun-filled, Juneteenth celebration. And, I may attend. My conscious-mind is asking me: "Should Juneteenth really be celebrated or should it really be recognized as a day of remembrance for all of the lives lost and forever changed for generations?" Perhaps, it should be both. I just think that you can't truly celebrate the "outcome" without honestly discussing the "cause".
Read more about Juneteenth on History.comhttps://www.history.com/.amp/this-day-in-history/abolition-of-slavery-announced-in-texas-juneteenth