Juneteenth is here! A holiday and special day of liberation & celebration commemorating the announcement of the end of enslaving African Americans in the southern United States.
Juneteenth aka Emancipation Day, Juneteenth Independence Day, Freedom Day is a combo (portmanteau) of June and nineteenth. The origins of Juneteenth date back 156 years ago when enslaved African Americans in Texas were the last to receive word or “announcement” on June 19, 1865 of the abolition of slavery and/or freeing enslaved African Americans in Texas.
We say FREE-ish, because technically on January 1, 1863 the Emancipation Proclamation signed by President Abraham Lincoln was to save the Union in the North vs. South War, not to “free the slaves”. A Proclamation by definition is an official announcement. The President had limited authority over the Confederate states (which included Texas) who left the union and did not recognize Lincoln as their President much less any statements or announcements issued by him. Texas ignored the proclamation until it was brought to the enslaved African Americans directly to read or be read to announce that they were “FREE-ish”. The proclamation did allow African American to fight with the Union Armed Forces, which gave additional manpower to the North’s military numbers.
Google 54th Regiment, US Colored Troops and 25th Corps all Black military units that fought in the North vs. South war that ultimately helped the North win. We practically freed ourselves. It was actually the 13th Amendment passed on January 31, 1865 and ratified on December 6, 1865. “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude EXCEPT as a punishment for crime where of the party shall have been duly convicted shall exist within the United States or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” That freed enslaved African Americans.
Though recognized by many states, Juneteenth is not a federal holiday. Currently 47 states and the District of Columbia recognize Juneteenth as a state or ceremonial holiday. Juneteenth was made an official state paid holiday in Texas in 1980. The US Senate established June 19, as Juneteenth Independence Day on June 19, 2015. Recently more states including Virginia and New York have recognized Juneteenth as a paid holiday in 2020 to start in 2021.
New Jersey designated the third Friday in June as a state and a public holiday known as Juneteenth Day. The only three states that do not recognize the holiday are North Dakota, South Dakota, and Hawaii. Juneteenth is the oldest and only African American holiday in the United States.
Juneteenth is a day to honor our Ancestors for their Resilience, Resistance and Liberation. Juneteenth also birthed Ms. Opal Lee the “Grandmother of Juneteenth”, a 94-year-old freedom fighter and life-long resident of Texas who is petitioning for Juneteenth to be become a National Holiday.
To sign the petition, go to www.change.org/united-states-congress-make-juneteenth-a-national-holiday-in-2021.
In real time we had historical moments. A global pandemic, protests, George Floyd’s murder, a new President and Vice President. Black liberation matters! Juneteenth gives us the opportunity to reflect on the ills of our nation and the will to replace Racism with Justice to go from FREE-ish to FREE!
Juneteenth is often celebrated with family reunions, cookouts, songs, plays, events, buying Black, lectures, lessons on learning, living and loving our Roots and Culture. Let’s strive to leave a legacy of great wealth, health & happiness for generations to come.
Study Ourstory….issa BlackSPEARience….pass the Spear>>>>
Davu Stewart is a proud Baba, Husband, Jegna, CWO and Cultural Empowerment Curator. Just a Real Black Gent spending time with Family, Books, Black Culture, Calisthenics, Combat Science, Swimming and cruising through the Brooklyn streets smiling at the community.