- Created on 18 June 2013
Did you know that the official African American holidays are: Kwanzaa, Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Juneteenth? What do you and your family do to celebrate Juneteenth? Also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, the Juneteenth holiday is an abbreviated form of "June Nineteenth." It marks the day blacks in Texas belatedly received word that President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation had freed the nation's slaves.
Black Americans should commemorate Juneteenth as the date in 1865 when Union Gen. Gordon Granger arrived with his troops at Galveston Island and read President Lincoln's proclamation freeing the state's 200,000 slaves. The proclamation had originally taken effect on Jan. 1, 1863, but word didn't reach Texas until two months after Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, and more than two years after the proclamation was issued. Explanations for the hold-up vary. Depending on who's doing the explaining, the delay could have been attributed to anything from bureaucratic delays to a slow mule. Once freed, several self-sustaining black farming communities sprang up in Texas and across the land, as freed men tilled their own soil.
Descendants of slaves should institute some modern-day ritual as we continue the country's oldest celebration commemorating the end of slavery. An African American tradition since the late 19th century, Juneteenth is recognized as a state holiday or day of observance in 42 states. On June 19th, 2013, the Dr. Ronald V. Myers, Sr., chairman of the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation, will join with Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) to host a ceremony to unveil a statue of Frederick Douglass at the U.S. Capitol with Myers reading Douglass' historic speech: "The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro." The speech is a classic: July 5, 1852, Douglass gave a speech at an event commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence, held at Rochester's Corinthian Hall and told his audience, "This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn.'"
But some are asking: "Is Juneteenth still relevant?" These days, some consider Juneteenth as being "controversial." In the early 20th century, economic and cultural forces caused a decline in Juneteenth celebrations. The Great Depression forced many Blacks off farms and into cities to find work. In those urban environments, employers did not grant leave for Juneteenth celebrations. July 4 was the established Independence Day holiday and a rise in patriotism among Black Americans steered more toward what they considered "Independence Day" celebrations. At the height of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement, Juneteenth lost more gravitas, particularly among militant Blacks who perceived it as obsolete in terms of their goals. Some argued that Juneteenth wasn't a cause for celebration inasmuch as it symbolized that Texas Blacks had remained enslaved after the rest of the South had been freed.
Washington's Smithsonian Institution's Anacostia Museum has emerged from the controversy to an annual Juneteenth celebration whose focus remains on the recounting of Afro-American culture and includes such traditional activities as a community barbecue, music, poetry readings, games and fireworks. It also features storytelling and re-enactments of battles fought by the all-Black 54th Regiment Union forces of the Civil War. Malcolm Beech, head of the Cultural Heritage Museum and a group of African-American Civil War Re-enactors says, "Juneteenth is a very important day for us to keep alive in our history as we continue to tell stories of Blacks that were soldiers, slaves and freed men."
As it moves forward, Juneteenth has become an occasion for reflection and time to recognize our achievements in life and economic development. Some have even equated the holiday with having the same importance among Afro-Americans as does Cinco de Mayo among Latinos.
Making it a point to trade, or buy something, from another Black, would be a worthwhile practice for African Americans to engage in during Juneteenth. This should also be a time for Blacks to focus on education and self-improvement, and to retrace our outstanding ancestry.
William Reed is head of the Business Exchange Network and available for speaking/seminar projects through the Bailey Group.org.
(Photo courtesy of Austin History Center, Austin Public Library)
- Created on 17 June 2013
For entrepreneur William K. Middlebrooks, the only difference between living an ordinary life and an extraordinary one is your willingness to do the extra in everything that you do.
It's a lesson Middlebrooks says his father instilled in him growing up, and one that served as a source of inspiration for a compilation of wisdom he and marketing executive Leslie M. Gordon recently released on the role of fathers in the African-American community.
Part chapter-memoir, part call-to-action and part inspiration, the book, "Dare To Be Extraordinary: A Collection of Positive Life Lessons from African American Fathers," recognizes and honors the wisdom and teachings of African-American fathers passed down to sons and daughters, one summary reads. Continue to the Huffington Post...
- Created on 07 June 2013
Five years ago, Brian James Moudry (pictured), a self-avowed White supremacist, burned down a black family’s Chicago home. Now the man who lived only five houses away from the home of his victims has reportedly been sentenced to a maximum of 10 years behind bars for his crime, reports The Inquistr.
Moudry, who at one point referred to himself as “Rev. Brian ‘Warhead von Jewgrinder’ Moudry,” has reportedly been in the White Power Movement since 17. He has also admitted to being involved with the World Church of the Creator, an infamous far-right white supremacist group led by neo-Nazi Matt Hale who’s serving a 40-year prison sentence, after being convicted of asking a follower in 2002 to murder U.S. District Judge Joan Lefkow. Moudry, a hate-monger, who has committed racially motivated crimes against blacks before, has also been an avid leader of white power demonstrations in recent years.
- Created on 10 June 2013
Comedian Bill Cosby once again is addressing problems facing the black community. This time he writes in an op-ed at the New York Post that the problems have more to do with apathy than racism or oppression.
- Created on 07 June 2013
A 911-operator in Dallas has been fired after posting racist comments about African Americans on her Facebook page, News One reports.