Sunday, June 19, 2005

The Facts Behind Juneteenth

Today is the day recognized around the world as the death nail to slavery in the United States. Originally observed in Galveston, Texas in 1865, Juneteenth has grown to be celebrated in numerous countries around the globe. I must add that it is almost exclusively on United States Air Force Bases.

Currently one of the largest international celebrations, not affiliated with our military, is held in Lod, Israel at The International Artists Conclave. Held this year on June 11, Lod's event revolved around a tribute to Arnie Lawrence the great jazz saxophonist. This event was the intro to the Shavuot, the Festival of Weeks. Ironically, Mr. Lawrence passed away on the eve of Passover this year. Read more on the Lod Festival HERE.

Currently I count eighteen countries that celebrate Juneteenth with Ghana being the only country in Africa that recognizes Juneteenth. This event is held at the W.E.B. Du Bois Center for Pan-African Culture. Also there are no Muslim countries that celebrate Juneteenth, except for Kuwait, and this celebration is held on one of our Air Force Bases.

Here's a list of countries that have events not mentioned above: England, Italy, Germany, France, Spain, Japan, Trinidad, Guam, Taiwan, Barbados, Puerto Rico, Honduras, and South Korea. If there is a pattern here of people that celebrate Juneteenth, I just can't find it. These countries represent all races, all governmental classifications (except for Communism), almost all religious affiliations, and cover most of the corners of the globe.

Evolution of Juneteenth and its celebration has been affected by many events. Two and a half years passed from the official dating of the Emancipation Proclaimation on January 1, 1863, to the subsequent posting of the order in Texas by Major General Gordon Granger on June 19, 1865. There are many explanations of the delay of posting the order, but the one I found most compelling was that the Union allowed the plantation owners enough time to reap their final harvest using slave labor.

How to Celebrate: While most Americans are prolific at partying and the like, there are some suggestions on how to celebrate this historic event HERE.

Juneteenth poems HERE.

Patches sends this link to the 18th Juneteenth Celebration in Cinncinati. Plus there are more links on this site than you can shake a stick at. These folks have done their homework. Thanks, Patches.

Joe-6-Pack has this POST on Juneteenth. Read it and you will understand why I go to Joe for all the answers. He even includes the Tuskegee Airmen, I gotta get a book on these guys. Thanks, Joe. Great job.

This post will continue to grow hopefully throughout the day. Stay tuned.

UPDATE: Welcome from the Carnival of the Chillin' Part II and The Carnival of the Vanities. Frontpage is HERE.
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