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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Remembering Juneteenth - 149 Years Ago Today

I planned to spend today writing job applications and looking for work but in perusing my morning mail, I saw no mention of Juneteenth on the many progressive email lists I'm on. I think this revolutionary holiday is so important in the United States that I've decided to write this brief blog post to remind people who may have forgotten and introduce people who never got the news.

Juneteenth is the slave's celebration of the end of slavery in the United States. Whereas the bourgeoisie celebrates Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, which became official on 1 January 1863, as ending slavery, the fact is that the Emancipation Proclamation didn't free a single slave because it only applied to the Confederate states where it couldn't yet be implemented.

In contrast, Juneteenth celebrated the day when large numbers of slaves in Texas were actually freed, because it was on 19 June 1865 that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. General Granger didn't waste any time, his General Order Number 3 began:
"The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and free laborer."
From Juneteenth.com we have this description of the reaction:
The reactions to this profound news ranged from pure shock to immediate jubilation. While many lingered to learn of this new employer to employee relationship, many left before these offers were completely off the lips of their former 'masters' - attesting to the varying conditions on the plantations and the realization of freedom. Even with nowhere to go, many felt that leaving the plantation would be their first grasp of freedom. North was a logical destination and for many it represented true freedom, while the desire to reach family members in neighboring states drove the some into Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma. Settling into these new areas as free men and women brought on new realities and the challenges of establishing a heretofore non-existent status for black people in America. Recounting the memories of that great day in June of 1865 and its festivities would serve as motivation as well as a release from the growing pressures encountered in their new territory. The celebration of June 19th was coined "Juneteenth" and grew with more participation from descendants. The Juneteenth celebration was a time for reassuring each other, for praying and for gathering remaining family members. Juneteenth continued to be highly revered in Texas decades later, with many former slaves and descendants making an annual pilgrimage back to Galveston on this date.
Juneteeth.com also has much more on the history of Juneteenth including where and how it is being celebrated today.




Sales of the following items help support this blog and my work:

87 Minute documentary on the Vietnam War. Shows how the U.S. government killed more than 3 million Vietnamese in their War of Independence. Starts with the history of the conflict from WWII, the defeat of the French, how the American people were lied into the conflict in the Gulf of Tonkin. Then shows how the killing was done. Includes testimony from soldiers and Vietnamese. Narrated by Martin Sheen. Written, Produced and Directed by Clay Claiborne. Includes five special features.
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57 x 35 inches polyester flag, green, white and black bands, with 3 red stars, light weight and strong with pocket for pole & tie-off.

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Note, re job search:
As I am writing this I just heard Amy Goodman on Democracy Now say they are looking for a Linux System Admin, so to short-stop another group of messages alerting me to that, let me say I have already applied for a Linux Admin job a DN three times in the past and have never received a response. I don't know why they apparently can't hang on their Linux people but I have even offered them my services for free without any feedback. I have also given my Vietnam doc to Amy personally twice and once through Jeremy Scahill, but it has never once been mentioned on her show. So I get the feeling I'm not very popular with AG, but if you know of any other Linux or computer related jobs I would be very happy to hear about them.

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