The federal government made Juneteenth an official federal holiday on June 17. My new home already had made it a city holiday last month. Juneteenth is celebrated on June 19 every year, the date in 1865 when a Union general announced the Emancipation Proclamation in Galveston, Texas. Texas was the last state in the Confederacy reached by Union troops. Juneteenth has been around a long time, but celebrations have traditionally centered in African-American communities and in Texas. That’s right: Juneteenth is another great cultural export of the great state of Texas.
And celebration is the right word. Juneteenth highlights our (initial) triumph over America’s original sin and the (incomplete) culmination of the founding ideals embodied in the Declaration of Independence. In that respect, the “independence” in the official name of the federal holiday (the “Juneteenth National Independence Day”) is appropriate. The American Revolution was fought for independence from both the British and tyranny. For almost one hundred years, a large chunk of Americans only got one of those. But it is a day for everyone; we all get to live in a more perfect union, we all get freedom from collective sin.Continue reading “Music Monday: Juneteenth Edition”