This year Father’s Day lands on the same day as Juneteenth. As we celebrate fathers and all they do for the family, we will also shine a light on Juneteenth. Juneteenth is also referred to as Freedom Day, African American Independence Day, Jubilee Day, or Emancipation Day. It is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. This holiday is also considered the “longest-running African-American holiday” and has been called “America's second Independence Day. On June 19, 1865, Union troops arrived in Galveston, Texas led by General Gordon Granger to announce that the war had ended a full two and a half years earlier when President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation which signified that 250,000+ enslaved people in Texas were officially free. Texas was the last state of the Confederacy with institutional slavery. It is important to note that while we celebrate Juneteenth as the end of slavery in the United States, it would take several more months to legally enforce it. Slavery was not formally abolished until December 6, 1865, with the passage of the 13th Amendment, which freed enslaved people in Union territory.
Initially, Juneteenth was not only a celebration but it was also used to help with organizing political rallies and helping newly freed Black people understand their right to vote. It is now celebrated by several traditions including, but not limited to family gatherings, sharing family history, and singing traditional songs such as the Negro National Anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” Keeping family history and traditions alive is crucial for future generations. Although my family is not from Galveston, my father and grandparents are from Texas. My father was born in Nacogdoches, which is a small city in East Texas. My grandmother was from Marshall, and my paternal grandparents met at Bishop College when it was in Marshall. Our roots run deep in the heart of Texas including appreciating the history of Juneteenth.
A sad reality today is rather than celebrating historical moments in our history like Juneteenth some are trying to erase them. More than 20 states are currently moving to strike aspects of American history and anti-racist teaching from public school curricula. Advocates of this practice try to justify their argument by suggesting that examining our history of racism breeds contempt that is racially divisive. This backward thinking is trying to rationalize that if we do not talk about it, maybe we will forget about it. The truth is just the opposite, if we discuss our history truthfully even when it is ugly and hateful, we can use the lessons learned to unify and come together and promise to never make these mistakes ever again. We must never forget our history even when it shows man’s inhumanity, we need to share our history even when it is shameful. Learning how we as Black people have triumphed despite, hurts, hard times, and hardships can be illuminating as well as educational.
This year Forgiving For Living, Inc., will join the Black Business Association and Comerica Bank in a free virtual celebration live on Facebook on Saturday, June 18th at 10:00 am PST. We will share some historical facts about Juneteenth, as well as highlight entrepreneurism and giving back to the community. We are grateful for the ability to plant seeds of hope and encouragement in the lives of the next generation to live out their purpose and be whatever their hearts desire. How do you plan to celebrate this Day of Jubilee?
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Visit www.WendyGladney.com and www.forgivingforliving.org to learn more. Wendy is a life strategist, coach, consultant, author, and speaker.