HomeFinanceA beginner's guide to Juneteenth: How can all Americans celebrate? - UnlistedNews

A beginner’s guide to Juneteenth: How can all Americans celebrate? – UnlistedNews

Brock Harrell, from Galveston, rings a bell during a reenactment to celebrate June 19, which commemorates the end of slavery in Texas, two years after the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves in other parts of the United States. States, in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 2021.

Callaghan O’Hare | Reuters

For more than a century and a half, the holiday of June 16 has been sacred to many black communities.

It marks the day in 1865 that enslaved people in Galveston, Texas discovered they had been freed, after the end of the Civil War and two years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.

Since being designated a federal holiday in 2021, Juneteenth has become more universally recognized beyond black America. Many people have the day off from work or school, and there are plenty of street festivals, fairs, concerts, and other events.

People who have never given the holiday June 19 more than a passing thought may be wondering, is there a “correct” way to celebrate June 19?

For beginners and those who are brushing up on history, here are some answers:

Is Juneteenth a solemn day of remembrance or more of a holiday?

It just depends on what you want. Juneteenth festivities have their roots in cookouts and barbecues. In the early days of the holiday celebrated as the true Independence Day for African-Americans, the outdoors allowed for large and raucous gatherings between formerly enslaved families, many of whom had been separated. The gatherings were especially revolutionary because they were free from restrictive measures, known as “Black Codes,” enforced in the Confederate states, which controlled whether freed slaves could vote, buy property, meet for worship, and other aspects of daily life.

Alan Freeman, 60, grew up celebrating June 16 every year in Houston, 50 miles (80 kilometers) north of Galveston. A comedian who is producing Galveston’s first Juneteenth Comedy Festival on Saturday, he has vivid memories of the smoke that permeated the entire neighborhood from him because so many people were using their grills for celebratory cookouts. He can go to anyone’s house and be welcomed to join the party, which could include grilled chicken and beef and other regional cuisines: jerky, fried fish, Jamaican plantains.

“It’s where I really started to see black unity because I realized that this was the only day that African Americans considered ours,” Freeman said. “The only holiday that was ours. We didn’t have to share it with anyone. And it was about freedom because what we understood was that we were emancipated from slavery. But there were so many beautiful activities.”

Others may choose to treat Juneteenth as a day of rest and remembrance. That may mean doing community service, attending an educational panel, or taking time off.

The important thing is to make people feel they have choices about how they view the occasion, said Dr. David Anderson, a black pastor and chief executive of Gracism Global, a consulting firm that helps leaders navigate conversations that bridge the divide between race and culture.

“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 just say ‘Thank you Dr. King, I’ll see what’s on TV.'” , and I’m going to rest,'” Anderson said. “I don’t want people to feel guilty about it. What I want to do is give ordinary people a choice.”

What if you’ve never celebrated Juneteenth?

Anderson, 57, of Columbia, Maryland, never did anything at Juneteenth in her youth. He didn’t find out until he was 30 years old.

“I think a lot of people haven’t known it, that they’re even my color as an African-American man. Even if you heard and you knew it, you didn’t celebrate it,” Anderson said. “It was like a piece of history. It wasn’t a celebration of history.”

For many African Americans, the further away from Texas they grew up, the more likely it was that they did not have large June 16 celebrations on a regular basis. In the South, the day can vary depending on when news of emancipation reached each state.

Anderson doesn’t have any special events planned other than giving his employees Friday and Monday off. In any case, Anderson is thinking about the fact that it’s Father’s Day this weekend.

“If I can tie Father’s Day and June 16 together to be with my family and honor them, that would be wonderful,” he said.

What kinds of public events are happening across the country?

Search online and you’ll find a smorgasbord of meetups in major cities and suburbs that vary in scope and tone. Some are more carnival-like festivals with food trucks, crafts, and parades. Within those festivals, you’ll likely find access to professionals in healthcare, finance, and community resources. There are also concerts and fashion shows to highlight black excellence and creativity. For those who want to look back, many organizations and universities host panels to remind people of the Juneteenth story.

Are special meals served on Juneteenth?

Aside from barbecue, the color red has been a common line for Juneteenth food for generations. Red symbolizes the bloodshed and sacrifice of enslaved ancestors. A Juneteenth menu might incorporate items like roast ribs or other red meats, watermelon, and red velvet cake. Drinks like fruit punch and red Kool-Aid may appear on the table.

Does it matter how you celebrate if you’re not black?

Dr. Karida Brown, a sociology professor at Emory University whose research focuses on race, said there’s no reason to feel uncomfortable wanting to acknowledge Juneteenth because she has no personal ties or isn’t black. In fact, accept it.

“I would rethink that and challenge my non-black friends who want to lean on Juneteenth and celebrate,” Brown said. “It’s absolutely their story. It’s absolutely part of their experience… Isn’t this our whole story? The good, the bad, the ugly, the story of emancipation and freedom for your black brothers and sisters.” according to the Constitution of the law”.

If you want to bring some authenticity to your Juneteenth acknowledgment, do your research. Attending a street festival or sponsoring a black-owned business is a good start, but it would also be good to “get your mind back,” Anderson said.

“That lasts longer than a celebration,” Anderson said. “I think black people should do it too because it’s new to us in America as well. But for non-black people, if you could read about this topic and read about black history beyond Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks, it would be show me you’re really serious about growth in this area.”

If you’re having a hard time marking the day “ethically,” Brown also suggested expanding your understanding of why the holidays are so important. That can be reading, attending an event, or going to an African American history museum if there is one nearby.

“Have that full human experience of seeing yourself in and through the eyes of others, even if that’s not your own lived experience,” he said. “That is a radical human act that is amazing and should be encouraged and celebrated.”

What other names are used to describe Juneteenth?

Over the decades, Juneteenth has also been called Freedom Day, Emancipation Day, the Black 4th of July, and the second Independence Day, among others.

“Because 1776, on the Fourth of July, where we celebrate freedom and all that, that didn’t include my descendants,” Brown said. “Blacks in America were still enslaved. So that holiday always comes with a bittersweet tinge.”

Is there a proper Juneteenth greeting?

It’s typical to wish people a “Happy June 16th” or “Happy June 10th,” said Freeman, the comedian.

“You know how at Christmas people say ‘Merry Christmas’ to each other and they don’t even know each other? You can get a ‘Merry Christmas’ from everyone. It’s 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 think as a non-black person celebrating June 16…it’s their unique moment to have a voice, to participate.”


Sara Marcus
Sara Marcushttps://unlistednews.com
Meet Sara Marcus, our newest addition to the Unlisted News team! Sara is a talented author and cultural critic, whose work has appeared in a variety of publications. Sara's writing style is characterized by its incisiveness and thought-provoking nature, and her insightful commentary on music, politics, and social justice is sure to captivate our readers. We are thrilled to have her join our team and look forward to sharing her work with our readers.


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