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Juneteenth- "Freedom Celebration"



I must admit, as a young child my parents and my relatives never mentioned or celebrated Juneteenth. I do not think they had even heard of it. My mother was from Texas, which is where Juneteenth started, and she never mentioned it. I wonder why our family members never heard of it. Why were not more African American Families celebrating the "Freedom Day" called Juneteenth? Maybe it was intentional to keep the Day of Freedom hidden from African Americans. I am not sure, however, I do know that for the majority of my life, I never heard of it. Every summer when I was a little girl, we visited our relatives in Port Auther, Texas. My aunts, uncles, and cousins of all age groups never mentioned Juneteenth. Maybe we visited later in the summer months like July or August. But it seems like someone would have mentioned it.


According to Wikipedia, Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation of June 1, 1863, declared that all slaves in the rebel Confederate States were free. The State of Texas rejoined the Union with the end of the Civil War on April 9, 1865. On June 19, 1865, Union General Gordon Granger arrived at the port of Galveston Texas, and announced that slavery had been ended with General Order No. 3. The Juneteenth Flag has the date of June 19, 1865, displayed on it.

The following year, on June 19, 1866, African Americans began to celebrate the day of freedom and called it Jubilee. The celebration was usually held with prayer and food. The historic event was to celebrate that more than 3 million slaves in the Confederate states would be made free. But what did that really mean? I do not know. But this I do know; I thank God for our freedom. I believe that we as a people still have many freedoms we enjoy. However, there are still many injustices and inequities in many urban communities.


Quality health care, education, employment, and affordable housing are still not accessible to the poor no matter what color. People are stuck or trapped in environments unfit for human habitation, food deserts are a reality when it comes to fresh fruits and vegetables. Affordable housing is no longer affordable, and employment seems to be a mystery. Employers can't find hirable workers and hirable workers can't find employment.


I can still appreciate the words of a great leader, free at last, free at last, thank God almighty we're free at last.




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