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Posts tagged ‘Juneteenth’

Jason Whitlock Op-ed: We should scrap Juneteenth, aka George Floyd Day, for a holiday commemorating America’s 1865 rebirth


Commentary by JASON WHITLOCK | June 20, 2022

Read more at https://www.theblaze.com/fearless/oped/whitlock-scrap-juneteenth-for-1865/

I spent a lot of time this weekend contemplating “Juneteenth,” our newest federal holiday. I first heard of it in 1985, when a college football teammate from Texas chastised a group of us for being unaware of the celebration. He explained the history of it to us. As a boy from Indiana, I understood his appreciation for Texas history but didn’t think it applied to me or my family.

I never celebrated Juneteenth. I never gave it much thought. I’ve lived in Indiana, South Carolina, Michigan, Missouri, Kansas, California, and Tennessee. No one in any of those states ever invited me to a Juneteenth party.

I suspect most people don’t fully comprehend or get Juneteenth. It’s a national holiday because of the death of George Floyd, not because our political leaders had a sincere interest in celebrating the emancipation of slaves in Texas or across the South.

This weekend, the New York Times ran an op-ed from Casey Gerald, an author and a native of Texas. Here are his opening lines:

“I won’t pretend Juneteenth has always meant a lot to me.

“I was born in Texas, as were my parents and most of my kin, all the way back to at least the 19th century, when some of them were enslaved. Still, for most of my life, the day was just another holiday marked on the community calendar — even if it was our day, a day for black Texans. Perhaps one sign that a thing belongs to you is that you take it for granted.

“The past few years have forced some stronger feelings to the surface.”

The “Summer of George Floyd” forced those stronger feelings to the surface.

A weekend article in the Washington Post spelled out the impetus for those stronger feelings, writing:

“During the summer of 2020, amid the racial-justice protests following the murder of George Floyd, millions of white Americans became aware of Juneteenth for the first time. Some companies announced they would give employees the day off on Juneteenth, and momentum grew to make it a national holiday. Last summer, the U.S. did just that, as President Biden signed a bipartisan bill into law on June 17.”

David Kaufman, writing in the New York Post, agreed with the Washington Post assessment:

“At a time when there is so much rewriting of American history, Juneteenth proves why history should be kept intact.

“Officially declared a national holiday by Congress last year in the wake of George Floyd’s 2020 murder, the day marks the emancipation of black slaves by President Abraham Lincoln in January 1863. As we prepare to celebrate it for the first time as a nation on Monday, it feels as important as the Fourth of July.”

Juneteenth’s connection to the George Floyd riots undermines the holiday’s ability to unify Americans. A lack of unifying messaging undermines the success and purpose of a national holiday.

What’s the purpose of Juneteenth?

Opal Lee, known as the “grandmother of Juneteenth,” offered this explanation:

“Juneteenth asks Americans to recognize that our nation’s principles are neither grossly hypocritical nor naively aspirational. We have inherited lofty yet practical ideals, and it falls to us to implement them as best we can.

“In 1865, that meant fighting attempts to reimpose slavery through violence. In 2022, it means opposing new forms of violence, whether it is violence that comes from within a community or violence perpetrated by the police.”

I like the first part of Lee’s explanation. It’s unifying and inspirational. But the second half falls flat. She analogizes slavery to violent police misconduct. The end of slavery freed 2.5 million black people. Slavery was codified into law and custom. The rare instances of illegal police violence are not backed by law or even custom. They’re aberrations.

Casey Gerald summarized his thoughts on Juneteenth this way:

“Let us grieve for our forebears and feel deep gratitude as we think of the enormous price our people paid so we could be free. Let us remember that despite the degradation of slavery, they lived fully human lives, too. They laughed. They loved. They dreamed. They ate sweet treats. Let us pray to them and say, this year and always: Thank you.”

Gerald’s definition leaves out the price paid by the hundreds of thousands of Union soldiers whose enormous price included the sacrifice of their lives. Gerald wants a black national holiday, not a unifying one.

My point is, as black people, we can’t fully explain or justify the Juneteenth holiday. Most black people did not care until George Floyd died. The black female mayor of New Orleans, LaToya Cantrell, best represents our confusion.

Over the weekend, she unveiled a monument she had erected at Lafayette Square in celebration of Juneteenth. The monument is an afro pick with a clenched fist. She said the sculpture represents the freedoms we’ve gained. New Orleans’ next sculpture will be of a durag and a can of Murray’s hair grease.

Let me take a crack at defining Juneteenth.

American black people did a lot of celebrating in 1865.

Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union General Ulysses S. Grant on April 9 of that year, ending the Civil War and kicking off the official death of slavery.

Twenty-two days later, more than 10,000 freed slaves in Charleston, South Carolina, held a parade honoring deceased Union soldiers. The event is credited with starting the Memorial Day tradition.

In June 1865, Union Army General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, and enforced Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. Black Texans adopted June 19th as a day to celebrate their freedom.

In early December, the United States ratified the 13th Amendment, abolishing slavery.

The year 1865 is as important to American history as 1776. America was reborn, reimagined, and resurrected from the dead. The year marks black Americans’ central role in this country’s march toward freedom and exceptionalism. The African-American journey has been America’s north star, its moral compass.

The fact that Juneteenth is such a divisive and polarizing issue speaks to how far this nation and its citizens have strayed from our shared moral struggle, purpose, and values.

I wish we could rebrand Juneteenth as 1865 Day. We could spend the day honoring the people who sacrificed everything for America to experience a rebirth. Right now, it’s a celebration of George Floyd. I feel sorry for George Floyd. I have no interest in celebrating him.

Ann Coulter Op-ed: Don’t Stop at Juneteenth!


Ann Coulter

Commentary by Ann Coulter | Posted: Jun 23, 2021

Read more at https://townhall.com/columnists/anncoulter/2021/06/23/dont-stop-at-juneteenth—p–n2591486/

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com, and WhatDidYouSay.org.

Don't Stop at Juneteenth!

Source: AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Happy Juneteenth! I hope you all had a lovely week celebrating the nation’s newest federal holiday, which commemorates the end of slavery throughout the Confederacy.

How could you not? The media was chock-a-block with commentators telling us what a fantastic, transformative event for our nation this was. But the media ignored the best part of all!

What Juneteenth commemorates is not technically the abolition of slavery, but the notification thereof to a particular group of slaves.

Although President Lincoln officially ended slavery with the Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863, it wasn’t until two years later, on June 19, 1865, that the slaves of Galveston, Texas, got the news, when Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger rode into town and issued a series of proclamations announcing that the hideous institution had been abolished and, henceforth, slaves would be considered hired labor.

This takes Juneteenth to a whole new level. Think of all the new federal holidays we could create using Juneteenth as our template! (Anyone who’s dealt with the federal government knows that those workers well deserve another paid day off.) We just need horsemen to ride around the country, correcting the errors of those who falsely believe something bad about America.

Thus, for example, next month we should have some bright young fellow gallop up to a BLM rally, Gen. Granger-style, dismount and announce:

I come with good news! Systemic racism no longer exists! It was done away with by the 1964 Civil Rights Act and parts of the 1965 Voting Rights Act! Any victims of racism today can demand remedies in federal court!

And with a hardy “Hi-De-Ho,” our hero would ride off to the next BLM rally, as the march participants disband and hold a celebratory brunch. The date would be remembered each year as the Julyteenth holiday.

Then in August, we’ll send men on horseback to MSNBC with this proclamation:

Trump isn’t going to run for president again! Republicans aren’t afraid of him! They don’t kiss his ring half as much as Democrats kiss Al Sharpton’s ring and parts posterior. As soon as you guys denounce Sharpton, they’ll denounce Trump. Please calm down.

It’s not the fault of MSNBC that they operate on this glaring misconception. Not unlike the slaves, they’ve been kept in the dark, fed lies by people in whom they placed their trust: reporters. The day they learn the truth should live forever in history as Augusteenth — and, of course, federal workers would get that day off, too.

Next, we’ll need some volunteers to saddle up and head over to The New York Times building to proclaim:

Good news, New York Times! Your repeated claim that 1 in 5 women will be the victim of rape is FALSE!

First, my friends, all “in their lifetimes” statistics are a scam. They make any crime sound rampant. More than 8 out of 10 Americans will be the victim of a violent crime “in their lifetimes,” and 9.9 of 10 will be a victim of personal theft “in their lifetimes.”

Second: Even by this ridiculous measure, it’s not “1 in 5.” According to an extensive study by Obama’s Department of Justice examining 18 years of data, 1 in 10 women will be raped “in their lifetimes.” About 2 in 10 will be robbed and 4 in 10 will be injured during a robbery.

Third: The annual rate of rape victimization isn’t close to “1 in 5.” Instead, it’s 1.75 per thousand raped each year.

Fourth: This is including rapes that never happened, but are threatened or attempted.

Isn’t that terrific news, New York Times? Instead of 1 in 5 women succumbing to the awful crime of rape this year, fewer than 1.75 per thousand will be!

Let’s call this holiday Septemberteenth, to commemorate the joyful day Times reporters realized they are not living in a dystopian world of sexual predators. Cheers will erupt! (Some from federal workers.)

In October, our ersatz Gen. Granger and his trusty steed will ride south to the Capitol and proclaim:

I come bearing good news: No one’s vote is being “suppressed”! It’s a bait and switch! Last year’s preposterous voting rules were instituted because of COVID-19! Remember? They told us: IT’S A WORLDWIDE PANDEMIC! WE MUST ALLOW UNIVERSAL EARLY VOTING, NO IDENTIFICATION AND MAIL-IN BALLOTS! DO YOU WANT PEOPLE TO DIE? We can go back to pre-pandemic voting rules without fear of returning to the dark days of Jim Crow! Now, if some of you would be kind enough to give my trusty steed some water?

The late-breaking discovery that Republicans aren’t “suppressing the vote” might be called Octoberteenth.

The slaves of Galveston were understandably ecstatic to be freed of the yoke of slavery — as no doubt will be the misinformed BLM protesters, New York Times reporters and other recipients of our horsemen’s good news. Think of their unbridled joy to be free of these false notions about America! They will shout to the heavens, giving thanks to the bounty of this land, their joy surpassed only by that of federal workers.

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