Juneteenth: A Party, Proclamation, and Protest
Photo of one of the earlier Juneteenth celebrations featuring 6 people — presumably 2 women and 4 men — dapperly & stylishly adorning new clothes to commemorate the day.
Wishing Black folk (of all ethnicities and cultures) an inspired & celebratory #Juneteenth. This is a happy day for me, because I am centering this invention that our ancestors created, not a federal holiday this country added.
Reminder: There is political and historical context of today, which includes Africans enslaved in America were not free, arguably, until December 6, 1865 when the 13th amendment was ratified or until July 9, 1868 when the 14th amendment was ratified offering “equal protection under law for everyone including formerly enslaved people.” And that should bring up some conflict for us all.
However, what is more important than that context is the inventors of the day. Black folk one year out of legalized chattel slavery brought new clothes and sang a new song and created space for them to celebrate each other. Black bodies have always been politicized, yet this holiday is remembering the people, our ancestors, spending a day in Texas, in the face of racism and white supremacy, acknowledging that they never believed in enslavement, they always knew they were better than it, and if given the chance could create a NEW life outside of it. They celebrated the START of something new.
And today we have the privilege and honor to celebrate them. The celebration is honoring Black life, not adding a balm to a racist country… I’d argue that this celebration Black folk invented in 1866 was, in fact, a party, a proclamation, and a protest. I hope we all remember we are celebrating Black folk today, not forgetting American history.
Happy Juneteenth to all my people!