Sunday will be June 19th, also known as Juneteenth. This year, on Monday, you have a Federal holiday recognizing it. Have you heard of Juneteenth? Or did you first hear about it last year when you got a day off for it? I’m originally from Connecticut and first started hearing about it in the early 2000s when I had an employee who came from Texas. I never heard of it before and yet, it’s been celebrated in Texas since 1866. When did you first learn about Juneteenth?
This is an updated post from last year. I’m actually posting this on Saturday, not my usual Monday so that you can read about Juneteenth, before, and not after.
What is Juneteenth?
On January 1st, 1863, President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation which stated “that all persons held as slaves” within the rebellious states “are, and henceforward shall be free.” But slaves in Texas didn’t hear about it because the war never actually went into Texas.
On June 19, 1865, after the war was over, General George Granger arrived in Galveston with Federal troops and read General Order #3 announcing that all slaves are free. The following year, on that same day, the first Jubilee Day was organized by former slaves. On January 1, 1980, Texas became the first state to declare Juneteenth as a holiday.
Last year, on June 17th, President Biden officially made June 19th a Federal holiday. This year, with June 19th falling on a Sunday, Monday the 20th will be the recognized holiday.
You can find out more about the history of this holiday at this Juneteenth website.
What Can You Do
There are many planned activities across the country. Since Juneteenth falls on a Sunday this year, there are sure to be larger events planned around the country. Just search for your town and Juneteenth events.
If you want to learn more (and you should) here are some things to consider:
- Don’t ask your black friends to teach you about Juneteenth. It’s not their job to be the keeper of knowledge for you. If they want to share that knowledge with you then by all means…listen.
- Don’t ask your black friends to take you to a Juneteenth event. If they ask, then, of course, go. Otherwise, if you wish to attend an event, look for something going on around you.
Juneteenth is just one day out of the year. But there is so much more that needs to be studied and understood so that we can move forward as a country.
Critical Race Theory – This one has been exploding up the right-wing talk shows for over a year now, as they try to convince you it’s about pitting white against black and having to admit that we are a racist country. But there is a difference between a racist country and allowing race to factor into how policy is created or how neighborhoods are defined or how redlining affects the wealth of a community.
United Shades of America is a CNN show with W. Kamu Bell, a comedian and political commentator who hosts the show. He looks at racism across America through the eyes of different communities, not just African-Americans.
The Tulsa Race Massacre. June 1st, 2021 was the 100-year anniversary of a massive terror attack that killed over 300 black citizens of the Greenwood district of Tulsa also known as Black Wall Street. Imagine citizens of the United States bombing other citizens of the United States from the air. That and more happened. There is a movie, Dreamland: The Burning of Black Wall Street that will give you an education on this attack and it’s currently streaming on HBOMax. My husband and I alternated between stunned silence and outrage as we watched.
All of the above is just a small amount of education. It’s important that we learn all of our collective history and not just the white-washed version that we’ve been fed for years. If that offends you in any way, then you’re not the reader that I hoped you to be.