Two and a half years, Americans were left toiling, unlawfully – like slaves. 30 months in a timeless zone of what they knew; of what they were. For now, forget the ones that survived, for some died not knowing they were free, not knowing their children and grandchildren and great grandchildren have survived their plight.
July 4th shall always be stained with the legacy of Juneteenth for that day ALL Americans became free….
I look back through American history, searching for something to grasp, to make me feel like an American. And it’s tough. I see slavery, Jim Crow, segregation, racist policies, the injustice system, the police states, inequality in housing and education, the Tuskegee Experiment, J. Edgar Hoover, southern monuments, racist epithets, etc. and again, it’s tough (to feel like an American). I want that same pride I feel when checking that box “Black or African-American” as I do with just being an American, but that shameful past hangs my head; hanging with the embarrassing legacy this country begat.
It took a fight, a bloody fight, to end these aforementioned maladies. Many deaths ignorant if their efforts were in just. Millions of lives lost and infinitely more altered – all with the hopes of one day fully celebrating our national holiday.
But I do smile a little brighter on Juneteenth, if only to imagine the joy on the faces of those Black Americans when those Union troops told them to, “put down those hoes, you’re free.” And then the chastisement of those (slave) holders with, “you ought to be ashamed of yourselves.” And yes, I do have my doubts about the American system; and how truly committed are they to equality, but I travel back to Texas, June 19th, 1865 and have full admiration for our government, for it, then, chose the right path and put forth great effort to equalize ALL it’s citizens. Risking the future of a torn and beaten nation; a nation of uncertainty humbly knowing that if it were to succeed, it must succeed as one.