Wednesday, June 18, 2014


From Wikipedia:

Juneteenth, also known as Juneteenth Independence Day, Freedom Day, or Emancipation Day, is a holiday in the United States that commemorates the announcement of the abolition of slavery in the U.S. state of Texas in 1865, and more generally the emancipation of African-American citizens throughout the United States. Celebrated on June 19, the term is a portmanteau of June and nineteenth, and is recognized as a state holiday or special day of observance in most states.

More here.

White Americans really ought to celebrate Juneteenth, too.

Of course, it makes complete sense that African Americans, who created the observance, would be the principle group celebrating the day because, along with emancipation more generally, Juneteenth commemorates the day black Texans were informed that they were free. (Man, I totally love that this started as a Texas thing!) But abolishing slavery is something of which ALL Americans should be proud. We became a bit more civilized as a people when our nation finally outlawed this barbaric practice. And even though it took another century of enduring the horrific brand of oppression known as Jim Crow, as well as other regional, non-Southern varieties of white supremacist oppression, to get us to where we are today, the end of enslavement was an extraordinarily important milestone.

There continues to be, of course, a great deal of progress we need to make as a people when it comes to equality and race. But we have made progress! And we should celebrate it.

So happy Juneteenth everybody! Do something fun and meaningful tomorrow on this most American of holidays. Especially if you're a Texan. But, like I said, Juneteenth is for all Americans.