Today is a Black Holiday. The funny thing about this day is a lot of Black People have no idea what Juneteenth is or what it is about. There is also a segment of the population that does know what the day is about, but choose to not celebrate; because they feel that it is in some way degrading. In personal opinion this is just wayward thinking which will be explained later.
April 1865 was the time in history that all the "Slaves" or as my Facebook friend David Nabawi would term them Rebels were set free. This was two and a half years after the Emaciation Proclamation of Abraham Lincoln ( who is also rumored to have been of African American decent) was passed into law. Why would it take two and a half years for the Africans Rebels to become free? The answer to that has been lost in the history of that time. However there are several theories the first most logical theory was there was not enough federal presence in the state of Texas to enforce the new law that was passed by the Union. The next theory is that the information was withheld by the "slave" owner in order to maintain their free labor force. Yet, another theory is the messenger that was sent to deliver the message was murdered on his way to Texas. Another,plausible theory is that the federal troops allowed the delay of the knowledge, so that plantation owners could reap the benefits of one last cotton harvest before their profitable way of life would be legally dismantled.
On that April day the first thing General Granger of the Union Army read to the people:
"The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and free laborer."
The emotion went from shocked to jubilation!
Many of the people did not even wait for the general to finish reading the order. They left. By oral tradition told in my family and from other elders many of the Rebels walked the street not knowing what they were going to do and with nothing but their clothes on their backs and whatever possessions they could carry, looking for lost family members or people they may have known from years past. What a glorious day!!!
Now some people feel that this is not a victory and that we should not celebrate something that was handed to us from the oppressor. To this let it be known that we when apart of a society and reaching for the perfection that a society is supposed to be we should embrace the good the bad and the ugly. Also, if we as African American people continue to not love our history, our culture, and celebrate the things that have shaped us to be the people we are; we will never reach the place we want to be. There is a segment of our history that places us in a light of being subservient and weak. However, those that went on before us left us with knowledge, tools and powers, to take those lemons and make Lemonade. When we choose to not celebrate these days we slap our ancestors in the fact. We say to all those people that bleed for us, lost breath for us, carried the spiritual traditions from our original homes that their work was for naught.
The Jubilee celebrations of Juneeteeth consists of barbecuing, dancin, music, spiritual ritual, (let us remember that HOODOO was born out of this time period) praise to the the deities of ancestral paths, cooking, eating, playing games, and just celebration life. What a joy!!!
So, let us not deny our history and always remember the ways of our ancestors and their fight to claim what was rightfully theirs. Pass on this tradition of cultural celebration to our offspring our future, that they may not forget where they came from but embrace the love of who they are against what the school book attempt to make them believe they are. We area great and mighty people and Al Edwards did not work for Juneteeth to become an official state holiday for the state of Texas on the first of January 1980 ; for us to allow this work to go in-vein.
So pull out the bbq pit, turn on the music and turn up because on this day in history we all were unified in freedom!!!!!
"This the year of Jubilee He will set the captive free Take back from the enemy, and will restore All the years and all the freedom, this is restoration season Celebrate you have a reason to rejoice!!!"