Juneteenth, The Official Independence Day Of The United States of America
Juneteenth is a celebration of the story of when a union general (I could say his name but this ain’t about him) had to travel all the way to Galveston, Texas as the only means of breaking the news. Informing the community that owning black people was now against the law after already being “freed” almost two years prior through the emancipation proclamation and the end of the civil war.
I know that in the age of communication, that sounds unfathomable but hear me out. Back then, especially in the most remote parts of Texas, news like this must have created a myriad of emotions and even sent shockwaves of joy, confusion, glee, anxiety, excitement, fear, but most importantly hope into the hearts and minds of so many who had in some cases unknowingly awaited this day. There was no way to get this message across apart from word of mouth. And I’m sure you know, there were still attempts to silence this message even after June 19th 1865.
Nonetheless, the news broke, as it was delivered, by travel, through word of mouth of a union general. Understand this, that the news of true freedom required military presence because had it been delivered any other way, it wouldn’t have been received one bit.
The date has many other names like Freedom Day, Jubilee Day and Liberation day. All fitting, as we can hardly grasp the immense the joy and disbelief experienced by our ancestors as word spread around that day. As we all know this was only the beginning, because here we are a hundred plus years later still fighting for our humanity. But on this day the celebrations must have been legendary. My heart can’t even begin to fathom.
So, today, on Juneteenth observe it how you see fit. Take time to reflect on our history, yeah, I’m talking about the real history, enjoy our arts, taste our food, embrace deep fellowship and get around black folk in your community to soak in as much knowledge and understanding as you can. Today is a day for us to remember the joy that was felt hearing the words millions of our ancestors were waiting to hear.
Stay blessed, stay black, happy Juneteenth.