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Juneteenth- The True Date of Supposed Freedom for Enslaved Black People

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And I recollect one time,they brought in hounds. They brought them hounds in and brought three n*ggas with them hounds, runaway n*ggas, you know, caught in the woods. And they, right across, right at the creek there, they take them n*ggas and put them on a log, lay them down, and fasten them. And whup them. You hear them n*ggas hollering and praying on them logs.” – Uncle Billy McCrea, Jasper, Texas, 1940

 

The quote above was from Uncle Billy McMcrea of Jasper, TX- discussing Juneteenth and the “break up”- the end of slavery in the south. Many believe that slavery ended in 1863, by law- referencing the Emancipation Proclamation. And while this may have some truth, as The National Museum of African American History and Culture states: 

 

Not everyone in Confederate territory would immediately be free. Even though the Emancipation Proclamation was made effective in 1863, it could not be implemented in places still under Confederate control. As a result, in the westernmost Confederate state of Texas, enslaved people would not be free until much later.

Texas, stolen from Mexico, is usually behind and delayed in all things- like cannabis and hemp legalization. Sickening! In Texas form, it wasn’t until June 19, 1865 when union troops arrived in Galveston Bay, TX that freedom actually rung. Juneteenth became the official day of freedom (June +19th= Juneteenth):

 

The army announced that the more than 250,000 enslaved black people in the state were free by executive decree. This day came to be known as “Juneteenth,” by the newly freed people in Texas.” says The National Museum of African American History and Culture. 

 

Slavery Ended but Black People Weren’t Technically Free

 

It’s important to note that no human living under government control has freedom. We have liberties, only enough freedom to make decisions to alternatives approved by the government. We can’t marry more than one person, we can’t legally consume plants like peyote that grows naturally because the government says we can’t, we are restricted from traveling outside of imaginary borders without the government knowing about it, I can go on and on.

 

When slavery ended, Black Codes, Jim Crow laws, the Reconstruction Era, alcohol prohibition, and a new way to target black people through the Harrison Narcotics Act all came into play to ensure that black people weren’t really free. In 1865 and 1866, new southern state legislatures passed restrictive “Black Codes”, which were enforced throughout the south following the Civil War.

 

After the civil war, a period called Reconstruction was initiated and both laws limited the rights of Black people. Instead, black people were exploited (many still are) as a labor source. The 1865 ratification of the 13th Amendment prohibited slavery and servitude in all circumstances “except as a punishment for crime.” 

 

This loophole resulted in southern states criminalizing activities that would make it easy to imprison Black people. This loophole made it easy to force black people into servitude once more. A good example, criminalizing a plant that enslaved Black people helped harvest, so they could be sent to jail and still be slaves.

 

The Rise of Melanated People in America- Still We Rise

 

Imagine being an enslaved person and hearing after the fact, way after the fact: 

 

The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.

 

Though Black history in America has so much ugly when it comes to the treatment of Black people, Black people rise. See, melanin is magic, it’s power, it carries biological benefits. Loosely discussed, it’s a simple “skin pigment”. However, there is a reason Black people are known as magic- Melanin and high levels of it. And though there are 2 types of melanin according to Healthline, neither are associated with white:

 

Although melanin is usually discussed as a single pigment, there are two types of melanin that contribute to pigmentation in the hair, skin, and eyes of humans and animals:

 

Eumelanin. This pigment is associated with dark tones, such as brown and black.

Pheomelanin. This pigment is associated with alternate hues, such as red and yellow.

 

Melanin can be credited as the magic and the will to fight can be credited as power. Black people in America have been hated harshly and viciously, and still Black people rise. Education was snatched from Black people and yet black people have been President, and are doctors and lawyers. Black people were given a delayed start by hundreds of years, and yet black people own television production companies. Black people have been separated and brutalized, and  Bookings Edu marks a shift in America’s “minority”: 

 

The U.S. Census Bureau has just released its last batch of race-ethnic population estimates in advance of the 2020 census, with data indicating that the national headcount will reveal a more diverse nation than was previously expected. The new estimates show that nearly four of 10 Americans identify with a race or ethnic group other than white. Over the decade’s first nine years, racial and ethnic minorities accounted for all of the nation’s population growth.”

 

Celebrating Juneteenth

 

There are many ways to celebrate and America should! America should honor the lives that built this nation. We should be calling this country the United States of Africa instead of the United States of America. For ways to celebrate and honor the life of black people, tune in with Jasmine Harvey who will be guiding folk on celebrations in honor of Juneteenth.

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