A Native Son talks Juneteenth: Better Late Than Never

This story was originally published on Word In Black

The Texas-birthed holiday of Juneteenth is a very interesting holiday, to say the least. See, I, a native-born Texan, have two Yankee parents. As such, I’ve been able to hear both sides of the “idea” of Juneteenth, and now am at a final resting place for my attitude about this NEW celebration of what used to be a regional observance.

I’m ok with it.

Let me explain; I love the idea of Juneteenth. It’s simple to me. Civil War ended, white folks were trippin’, army had to come in, let everybody know what’s up. Easy right? I thought so too…but then the other side came in.

Now, for the sake of fairness, I do get some of the opposition that was very prevalent in my younger days. It’s kind of strange to celebrate the late arrival of emancipation, however, I also didn’t understand why others cared so much when this wasn’t a national thing. It was for us Texans. Then an elder of mine stated plainly, “They don’t like that we celebrate our freedom, because they don’t celebrate theirs. And never have. But will celebrate the fourth of July like it meant something.” And there it was: clarity. The line had been drawn in the sand and I now stood firmly on the side of Juneteenth.

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