Happy Juneteenth to my Africans in the United States! Let's take this celebration global and amplify our strengths in the diaspora.
With recent events that have transpired in the United States, this year's Juneteenth has brought a lot of attention to those outside of the African American community which is a great thing.
Before I get into the list of celebratory events today, here's a quick recap of how it all started leading up to this day. Slavery, in itself, is global history where most of the enslaved Africans were mainly transported to Brazil, then followed by the Caribbean and that's where a huge chunk of the Africans who arrived in the United States from the Middle Passage came from. Only 4-6 percent of the enslaved came to the United States, the rest is between Brazil and the Caribbean which is why you may also notice that countries like Colombia or Haiti have some of the highest populations of Africans outside of the mainland.
A key point in slavery in the United States is marked by, most historians as, the year of 1619 where 20 Africans arrived in Jamestown, Virginia as indentured servants in the former British colony. It is important to note that these weren't the first Africans who arrived on American soil as these 20 Africans were seized from a Portuguese slave ship. Africans first arrived in the United States in the late 16th century. Throughout the years as slavery grew in practice around the United States, the northern part of America started to connect the dots between their own oppression from the British to the enslaved Africans in their country after the American Revolution. Which takes me to the Emancipation Proclamation of January 1, 1863 which President Lincoln signed as an effective order in September 1862. The law said that more than 3.5 million enslaved Africans were now free in the Confederate states. This information was not upheld by most of the Southern states but took even longer to make its way to Texas due to the low presence of Union troops and little enforcement of the federal law.
On June 18th, 1965 General Gordon Granger rallied up 2,000 federal troops to occupy the state of Texas. On the following day, Granger read the contents of "General Order Number 3" which outlined the context of the Emancipation Proclamation signed two years ago. Texas was the last state to release the enslaved but also the first state to declare Juneteenth as a state holiday in 1979 by the help of Al Edwards. What was first known as Jubilee Day started being called Juneteenth around the 1890s. Celebrations on this day included rodeos, fishing, and baseball when it just started. Churches were also the center of these celebratory activities. Now, we celebrate with state fairs, family reunions, festivals with a nice Strawberry drink and more. And now, let's celebrate!
Here are some events to check out during the celebrations:
1) Kujichagulia Center for Self-Determination: A Week of Virtual Celebrations
- Instagram: @kujichaguliamadison
2) Juneteenth Virtual Meditation: 2pm EST. DM on Instagram for Access
- Instagram: @southernbellebenward
3) Juneteenth Music Festival
- Instagram: @iamjuneteenth
Image Sourced from Unsplash: https://unsplash.com/@oladimeg