Saturday, June 19, 2010

Juneteenth, 2010.



What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer; a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sound of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants brass fronted impudence; your shout of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanks-givings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy -- a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages.
-- Frederick Douglass


I guess it goes without explanation my feelings for the [white] Independence Day. Okay, I enjoy grilling out and spending time in the hot sun with my family in the South. I don't really believe in the majority of consumerist bullshit holidays, but they do tend to be the only times of the year that I am able to put my feet up and spend time with my family. Don't look at me like that, I know I'm not the only one.


I do, however, enjoy the symbolism in Black American made-up holidays because of our own history in the US. I think culture is important; and I think that being a person of color in the US and not acknowledging the historical climate of people of color during the major "American cultural" holidays is silly. Sure; we are American by right - we were born here, most of us know this land better than Africa and the Caribbean, and our foremothers likely engaged in forced sex and nursed white babies. This is by no means an anti-white rant; I'm just acknowledging the truth of the time. This is our history.


At any rate, many people do not know of Juneteenth probably because it isn't taught in the public school systems, and I think it's important so here's my little Juneteenth blurb.


President Lincoln passed the Emancipation Proclamation in September of 1862, to go in effect January 1, 1863. However, troops had to be send to good ol' Texas after the slaves remained slaves for over two years after the Emancipation Proclamation to enforce their liberation. That's right, folks - the masters continued to benefit and did not tell their property 250,000 slaves that they were free.


Juneteenth (June 19, 1865) is when Black slaves in America were officially liberated from the bonds of physical slavery, though the mental, philosophical and emotional slavery still runs rampant. And while I'm sure that Juneteenth will not be in the textbooks in Texas (as if it was already, right?), there are a number of websites that offer history and local, national, and international Juneteenth celebrations:


Juneteenth World Wide Celebration
Juneteenth: Texas State Library
Juneteenth San Antonio history
National Juneteenth Holiday Campaign


Be Righteous.

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