Juneteenth Talking Circle NJOF

WHAT IS JUNETEENTH? Juneteenth, or the "19th of June

June 19th is not the day that slaves were given their freedom in this country. It is the date agreed upon, 30 plus years ago, by several national Juneteenth organizations to celebrate freedom from enslavement as our "Juneteenth National Freedom Day,"

The "19th of June," and later "Juneteenth," recognizes the last Emancipation Day in America in Galleveston Tx, more than 2 and 1/2 years after the Emancipation Proclamation .

"Juneteenth Independence Day" in America is a day to recognize and honor our ancestors who heard the news of freedom and celebrated that announcement. Juneteenth is America's second Independence Day Celebration because we were not free in 1776. Juneteenth is the oldest African-American holiday observance.

"19th of June" was not our first Emancipation Day. The first of our ancestors, Americans of African descent, were freed or "emancipated" on April 16, 1862, through an executive order by President Abraham Lincoln ending enslavement in the District of Columbia. This was the country's first "Emancipation Day" and it is a District of Columbia holiday. This created the first "watch night services,". Our ancestors stayed up till midnight in churches in DC and Maryland, to give God praise, prayer and thanks for their freedom. It was not a national recognition

The Emancipation Proclamation, another executive order, signed on September 22, 1862, to be enforced on January 1, 1863, to end enslavement in those southern states and areas of rebellion. It was not a national recognition

The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, passed at the end of 1865 legally abolished slavery. It’s passing is not a national recognition.

Juneteenth recognition is just a beginning. It is my belief that there is a need for the acknowledgement and education of our histories, African American, Native American, Asian American, and Hispanic American. I would like to see this lead to an educational initiative. Unlike the teaching in the Texas textbooks, Slavery was not just an unpaid internship.

The Juneteenth holiday campaign is an extension of that decision 30 years ago to nationally recognize an end to slavery in this country. We are not the first country to have enforced enslavement, nor will we be the last. Looking back at history to the days of the early Greeks, Romans and before there were slaves. It was pointed out to me that the one thing this country’s slavery did was to break up the family unit. We still suffer from those divisions today. If you research your family tree you hit a wall going back prior to the 1870 census. It can be breached but it is there.

Correction of the misinterpretation or glossing over of the facts is the first step towards the realization of how far we have come in nearly 400 years since the 1619 Point Comfort landing, with the first Africans, how much we must yet do, and the connection to the centuries of leadership that was previously achieved before and after the forced migration from Mother Africa. We need to know our history. How can we know where we are going if we do not know where we have been?

Black Wall Street, outside of Tulsa Oklahoma, one of the most affluent all-Black communities in America, was bombed & went up in flames June 1, 1921

More than 300 African Americans were killed. 40 square blocks were bombed with Molotov cocktails – gasoline-filled bottles set afire and thrown as grenades and firebombed from the air and burned to the ground, including 1,265 African American homes. 150 businesses were destroyed: 21 churches, 21 restaurants, 30 grocery stores and two movie theaters, plus a hospital, a bank, a post office, libraries, schools, law offices, a half dozen private airplanes and even a bus system. 6,000 black Tulsans were arrested and detained by White deputies and members of the National Guard who were released only upon being vouched for white citizen. Nine thousand African Americans were left homeless and lived in tents well into the winter of 1921."

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