In addition to today, June 19, 2022, being Father’s Day, it is also Juneteenth. It is now and has always been one of my favorite days to celebrate.
For those who don’t know, Juneteenth or June 19th is the day in 1865 when enslaved people in Texas learned they were free as decreed by the Emancipation Proclamation. Keep in mind the Emancipation Proclamation was issued by Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863. If you pay close attention to the dates, you can see that those enslaved in Texas did not learn of their freedom until 2 ½ years later.
Don’t you feel the day is a reason to celebrate? I do.
Growing up in Texas, I’ve always been aware of Juneteenth and its significance. For me, it’s more important than July 4th. Think about it. When the U.S. declared independence from Great Britain, enslaved people of African descent were not free. We (yes, we, as I am my ancestors’ wildest dream) were not independent of shackles, beatings, oppression, free labor, and much more. We weren’t free in 1776. My ancestors learned they were free in 1865. So…Happy Juneteenth!
How would you feel to learn you were free?
It’s only been in the last two years that more people have learned about Juneteenth and why it’s important. I’ll admit I kind of miss having the day all to us instead of it being widely known. However, I will not discount the dedication and activism of Ms. Opal Lee, who for years walked 2.5 miles in her campaign to make Juneteenth a national holiday. Two and a half miles for the two and a half years until we learned of our freedom. Shout out to the Grandmother of Juneteenth. Visit Grandmother of Juneteenth, Opal Lee, Shares the Importance of this Historic Holiday to hear directly from Ms. Lee about the day.
I’ve read comments about how Juneteenth as a national holiday creates more division because it focuses on race. Let me point out that acknowledging our differences, what contributes to our experiences, what makes us unique, and what we have had to endure does not create division. It’s the first step in healing the divide. We cannot fix what we don’t face.
If you don’t know about Juneteenth, I invite you to learn more about the day and its history. Resources include African American museums, books, articles, and videos.
Enjoy for those who know about Juneteenth and will be celebrating today!
Enjoy every minute while reflecting on what it took to get here and those that came before us. Dance like everyone is watching, ‘cause they are. Sing every song to the top of your lungs. Dap, high five, hug, and fellowship with those you know and new folks. Enjoy the mac and cheese, barbeque, potato salad, fried chicken, collard greens, cornbread, baked beans, peach cobbler, homemade ice cream, watermelon, or whatever will be on your cookout plate today.
Happy Juneteenth, y’all! I’ve got to run because I hear the faint sounds of Frankie Beverly And Maze kicking in (if you know, you know).