The Emancipation Proclamation was signed Jan. 1 1863, and freed all of the slaves in America. Unfortunately, Snapchat and Twitter didn’t exist and even if they had, Black people were not allowed to read and wouldn’t have had access to that technology because we were uh … slaves. As a result of this lack of communication and deliberate withholding of information the fact that Black people were now free was not announced in many Southern states, specifically Texas, until June 19, 1865, two years after emancipation was official.
This egregious act kept Black people in bondage for the sake of yet more free labor and added to the suffering and misery suffered at the hands of White supremacy.
Juneteenth is a celebration commemorating the day in 1865 when the news of freedom reached slaves in Galveston, Texas. The celebration is observed throughout the country and serves as a reminder of a history that has impacted the entire world.
The Juneteenth celebration is an opportunity to celebrate freedom and create it through group economics.
Culture Connection 360 recently held its Juneteenth celebration on the South Side of Chicago. The celebration was created by Cassiopeia Uhuru, owner of The Black Mall. It originally started in her home. This celebration is a gathering of family’s and business where black dollars are exchanged. DJ SP1 was on the was on the ones and twos serving as the musical backdrop. A beautiful sunny day provided sights and sounds of children laughing, people dancing, eating and practicing group economics. A moment of silence was taken for the Chicago State University’s African American Male Resource Center director, professor Kwesi Ronald Harris who recently died. The spirit of Baba Kwes,i as he was known in the community, was present and added to the mood of happiness and action that shaped this Juneteenth celebration.
We asked Tequila Shabazz what she thought the importance of Juneteenth. “Every year Black folks set off fireworks, fly American flags and BBQ on the Fourth of July to celebrate America’s independence from Great Britain. What we fail to remember or even acknowledge is that although Black folks fought in the Revolutionary War, our ancestors were returned to their slave quarters to serve for another 88-90 years. Those that fought as part of the British Army were returned and killed on the shores of Virginia Beach. We must never forget that, and so we celebrate Juneteenth because it’s the true Independence Day of Black Americans from legal slavery, although it was instituted two years after Emancipation. It marks the date when the last set of slaves received news that they were free. Until Juneteenth is no longer a foreign word and observed in all American homes, especially amongst Black families, our work to drive awareness continues,” she said.