Americans across the country are observing the relatively new Juneteenth federal holiday with festivals, parades, cookouts and other gatherings. https://t.co/nkmRr0xTaY
— The Associated Press (@AP) June 19, 2023
… While many have treated the long holiday weekend as a reason for a party, others urged quiet reflection on America’s often violent and oppressive treatment of its Black citizens. And still others have remarked at the strangeness of celebrating a federal holiday marking the end of slavery in the nation while many Americans are trying to stop parts of that history from being taught in public schools.
“Is #Juneteenth the only federal holiday that some states have banned the teaching of its history and significance?” Author Michelle Duster asked on Twitter this weekend, referring to measures in Florida, Oklahoma and Alabama prohibiting an Advancement Placement African American studies course or the teaching of certain concepts of race and racism…
The holiday observance continues Monday with Vice President Kamala Harris appearing on a CNN special with musical guests including Miguel and Charlie Wilson.
Schools and federal buildings will be closed Monday.
Don’t miss one of the biggest concerts of the summer—celebrating a special holiday! Juneteenth: A Global Celebration for Freedom. Live – Monday at 7 p.m. ET on CNN pic.twitter.com/838fk8TKwq
— CNN (@CNN) June 18, 2023
A beginner's guide to Juneteenth: How can all Americans celebrate? https://t.co/nYPNVmzXJ7
— WOKV News (@WOKVNews) June 17, 2023
…IS JUNETEENTH A SOLEMN DAY OF REMEMBRANCE OR MORE OF A PARTY?
It just depends on what you want. Juneteenth festivities are rooted in cookouts and barbecues. In the beginnings of the holiday celebrated as Black Americans’ true Independence Day, the outdoors allowed for large, raucous reunions among formerly enslaved family, many of whom had been separated. The gatherings were especially revolutionary because they were free of restrictive measures, known as “Black Codes,” enforced in Confederate states, controlling whether liberated slaves could vote, buy property, gather for worship and other aspects of daily life.
Alan Freeman, 60, grew up celebrating Juneteenth every year in Houston, 50 miles (80 kilometers) north of Galveston. A comedian who is producing Galveston’s first ever Juneteenth Comedy Festival on Saturday, he has vivid memories of smoke permeating his entire neighborhood because so many people were using their barbecue pits for celebratory cookouts. You could go to anyone’s house and be welcomed to join in the feast, which could include grilled chicken and beef and other regional cuisines — jerk meats, fried fish, Jamaican plantains…
Others may choose to treat Juneteenth as a day of rest and remembrance. That can mean doing community service, attending an education panel or taking time off.
The important thing is to make people feel they have options on how to observe the occasion, said Dr. David Anderson, a Black pastor and CEO of Gracism Global, a consulting firm helping leaders navigate conversations bridging divides across race and culture.
“Just like the Martin Luther King holiday, we say it’s a day of service and a lot of people will do things. There are a lot of other people who are just ‘I appreciate Dr. King, I’ll watch what’s on the television, and I’m gonna rest,’” Anderson said. “I don’t want to make people feel guilty about that. What I want to do is give everyday people a choice.”…
DOES HOW YOU CELEBRATE JUNETEENTH MATTER IF YOU AREN’T BLACK?
Dr. Karida Brown, a sociology professor at Emory University whose research focuses on race, said there’s no reason to feel awkward about wanting to recognize Juneteenth because you have no personal ties or you’re not Black. In fact, embrace it.
“I would reframe that and challenge my non-Black folks who want to lean into Juneteenth and celebrate,” Brown said. “It absolutely is your history. It absolutely is a part of your experience. … Isn’t this all of our history? The good, the bad, the ugly, the story of emancipation and freedom for for your Black brothers and sisters under the Constitution of the law.”…
IS THERE A PROPER JUNETEENTH GREETING?
It’s typical to wish people a “Happy Juneteenth” or “Happy Teenth,” said Freeman, the comedian.
“You know how at Christmas people will say ‘Merry Christmas’ to each other and not even know each other? You can get a ‘Merry Christmas’ from everybody. This is the same way,” Freeman said.
No matter what race you are, you will “absolutely” elicit a smile if you utter either greeting, he said.
“I believe that a non-Black person who celebrates Juneteenth … it’s their one time to have a voice, to participate.”
Analysis: As the nation celebrates Juneteenth, it's time to get rid of these three myths about slavery | CNN https://t.co/f7pjTQLFJL
— John K. Blake (@JohnBlakeCNN) June 18, 2023
Not only a historic day for America, but also a historic day for the @USArmy. On this day in 1865, Union Army Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger issued General Order No. 3, informing the people of Texas that "all slaves are free." pic.twitter.com/A7Sw2hr163
— Department of Defense 🇺🇸 (@DeptofDefense) June 19, 2022