Not Really Big on “Juneteenth”

People ask me why I’m not big on Juneteenth. Because I think that day, like the earlier so-called “Emancipation Day” encourages our people towards the Eurocentric idea of seeing our freedom as coming from the agency of others. Yet, even the existence of Juneteenth gives the lie to that idea. Lincoln’s Emancipation in practice did not really free all people and it was a Union invasion of Texas more than 2 years later that led to the implementation of the liberation process in Texas which is why there is a Juneteenth. I think the net result of all of this is to accept three things that I believe to be fundamental historical myths: that the civil war was begun to end slavery, that Lincoln was fundamentally antislavery, and that the emancipation actually freed everyone. There is no Afrikan agency in any of this and these myths totally obscure the role of Afrikan abolitionists, the rebellions of the enslaved, resistance on the continent, the persistence of slavery many years later, the continuance and greater virulence of white supremacy and its terrorist groups after the fact. If I steal your house with you in it and then announce that I decided to free you from the illegal, ungodly bondage I put you in, is that a day I celebrate with you or a day I need to remind you of the nightmare you put me through that should never have been and when I work to make sure you never get to play me like that again? When the real Juneteenth happened we were left without our homes, our names, our religion, our cultures, our mores, education, knowledge of home, and almost any means of providing for ourselves. Not to mention without legal rights and subject to the Klan and other roving lynch mobs. Forgive me for being the only Afrikan that ain’t exactly in a celebratory mood. How far are we collectively from that condition today, under the yoke of the same system? Like I say on 4th of YouLie, you can hold my barbecue…AGAIN. 

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