Friday, June 19, 2015


From the New York Times opinion section:

The jubilation following Granger’s announcement in Galveston moved across Texas, quickly reaching the state’s 250,000 enslaved people. A year later, a spontaneous holiday called Juneteenth — formed from the words June and nineteenth — began to be celebrated by the newly freed people of Galveston and other parts of Texas. In 1867, Austin, the state capital, saw its first Juneteenth celebration under the direction of the Freedmen’s Bureau, the federal agency created to provide relief to people displaced by the Civil War.

More here.

I've been saying this for some years, myself. Juneteenth ought to be celebrated by ALL Americans. After all, this country instantly became a better place, about a thousand times more civilized, the day slavery ended. This is a no-brainer. Ending slavery is as important to this country as gaining independence from England is.

That this day of emancipation is not celebrated by all of us says a great deal about our truly f'd up attitudes on race: it's the most obvious evidence that white Americans just don't want to think about our bloodstained barbaric past, and its ongoing legacy today. Just sweep it all under the rug and it will all work out. That's the white American way, and it's obviously not working out so well these days.

I say try celebrating Juneteenth, instead. Think about what it means. Contemplate freedom for yourself, and for others. That's much more American, I think, than living in denial. Happy Juneteenth!