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Juneteenth Celebrations & Learning Opportunities

by Kelleen Maluski on 2020-06-19T08:00:00-06:00 | Comments

Today is Juneteenth - a holiday that celebrates the date that Major General Gordon Granger released an order to Texas ending slavery in the confederacy under the Emancipation Proclamation. The order came two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation had been signed and Texans did not immediately comply, continuing to enslave Black Americans. Not only was this order met with resistance, but the act of enslaving Black Americans continued under different names and with the creation of new laws (see readings below for more information).

Juneteenth is not just a historical event, it is a celebration of Black culture and a date that shines light on the white supremacy that is built systematically into our country to this day. As the National Museum of African American History & Culture states, "Juneteenth marks our country’s second independence day. Though it has long been celebrated among the African American community, it is a history that has been marginalized and still remains largely unknown to the wider public. The legacy of Juneteenth shows the value of deep hope and urgent organizing in uncertain times." 

For celebrations and learning opportunities happening this weekend, see:

Image of the flyer for The Strength of our Resilience Black Voices Matter, Addressing COVID-19 in Our Community through The Kujichagulia Madison Center for Self Determination

Image of the flyer for The Strength of our Resilience: Black Voices Matter - Addressing COVID-19 in Our Community via The Kujichagulia Madison Center for Self Determination

To learn more about Juneteenth, celebrate the ways in which Black communities survive and thrive (including establishing health care practices), and the history of and contemporary ways in which white supremacy is integrated into our society, see:

  • Celebrating Juneteenth from the National Museum of African American History & Culture
  • What is Juneteenth by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. for PBS (originally posted on The Root)
  • Chained in Silence: Black Women and Convict Labor in the New South by Talitha L. LeFlouria
    "LeFlouria argues that African American women's presence within the convict lease and chain-gang systems of Georgia helped to modernize the South by creating a new and dynamic set of skills for Black women. At the same time, female inmates struggled to resist physical and sexual exploitation and to preserve their human dignity within a hostile climate of terror. This revealing history redefines the social context of Black women’s lives and labor in the New South and allows their stories to be told for the first time."
  • Doctoring Freedom: The Politics of African American Medical Care in Slavery and Emancipation by Gretchen Long
    "Even before emancipation, African Americans recognized that control of their bodies was a critical battleground in their struggle for autonomy, and they devised strategies to retain at least some of that control. In Doctoring Freedom, Gretchen Long tells the stories of African Americans who fought for access to both medical care and medical education, showing the important relationship between medical practice and political identity."
  • The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarnation in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander 
    "Although Jim Crow laws have been wiped off the books, an astounding percentage of the African American community remains trapped in a subordinate status - much like their grandparents before them. In this incisive critique, former litigator-turned-legal-scholar Michelle Alexander provocatively argues that we have not ended racial caste in America: we have simply redesigned it."


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