This American Celebration’s Roots Are Much Deeper
A picture of infatuated white women admiring a true American Freedom Fighter:
Recently, I’ve heard a few interpretations by black Americans on the meaning of Juneteenth that have led me to struggle to understand it. As a new holiday, the meaning though is not yet fixed and leaves it open to further probing, which hopefully will open more questions than answers. I may not get to the “truth” but it’s best to start trying for a bigger celebration next year, the third time nationally.
First, can we determine what it is not?
It is not a celebration of some white person giving freedom to black slaves. Ii have been thinking about the holiday’s meaning the weeks after this Juneteenth. Last one, the first national holiday, I had originally thought that this white Union general sailing down to Galveston, Texas to announce to the “last slaves” that they were free was a good symbol of white people’s admittance that somehow, they were “defeated” by the immorality of slavery. The whites had done deep, irreparable wrong to black Americans. That was a nice poorly conceived fantasy I made up, a good symbol maybe, after the first Juneteenth federal holiday in 2021. But it probably isn’t such a great one.
Still, I couldn’t exactly see the celebratory side yet. My original idea was not great, but it was a reaction to having a holiday for black Americans be about some lofty, morally smug whitey coming to give ‘freedom’ to slaves because he was doing what was right.
That’s not a vision of the recognition of equality, or the evil inflicted by slavery. Certainly, it is not coming from the mouths of the defeated Confederates, but from some Union soldier who defeated them. Change has to come from within the defeated from the admittance they were morally wrong to have any meaning. That white admittance of wrong from enslaving black Americans from the confederates still has not come, and I’m not holding my breath.
But the issue I had is that Emancipation should not be considered as the core of celebration. The “end of slavery” is not something to celebrate in and of itself. While some of us are glad it ended, that Abraham Lincoln enacted the emancipation in January 1863, it didn’t…