The Secret of Juneteenth is that its existence was based on a false premise. One word that defined it, was “freedom.” Yet, history reveals liberation was never the intent. The idea was used to appease one group, so that another group could move its agenda. Consequently, enforcement was practically non-existent.
What is the Secret of Juneteenth?
“Juneteenth” has different meanings for different people. Its historical meaning represents the day slavery ended in Texas–June 19, 1885. What really happened on that day? General Gordon Granger marched into Galveston, Texas and said in effect, “Slavery is over here.” Prior to that, Texas had defied the Emancipation Proclamation which had ended slavery on January 1, 1883 and maintained the status quo. Before 1885, no one had bothered to enforce the law in Texas. And . . . worst of all, slavery was not over.
The Mystery of Juneteenth?
Like most ideas, Juneteenth was celebrated by people who profited most by its existence, namely, black people. The irony is only small numbers of black people knew that Juneteenth represented a day of celebration for their deliverance. Why? Because the masses did not feel liberated! The power or right to act, speak, or think freely, had still been denied them. Additionally, freed slaves had no buying power, and no voice in the political system. Consequently, Juneteenth was not generally celebrated across America by most blacks.
Restraint Ruled the Land
As time went on and white America instituted Jim Crow laws, the joy over being free dwindled in black communities. They realized lack of restraint in one area, caused enslavement in another. Freedom from slavery, really did not mean they were free. Whites on the other hand, proceeded in re-writing history, erasing whatever benefited blacks. Their secret was, “If you don’t talk about something, it does not exist.” Their goal was to minimize whatever contribution blacks had made to society and treat “free people” as slaves. That mentality is still ingrained in the minds of many whites today.
Progression of Juneteenth
It is my belief that progression and honor for Juneteenth celebrations waned across America. I did not know it existed until adulthood. It was not in my schoolbooks, nor mentioned in college courses I studied. Immersing blacks into “the melting pot” was not a priority for whites and blacks progressed from one “survival fight” to the next. So . . . advancement was minimal if at all.
The Emergence of Independence
As more and more blacks became part of the political regime, what it meant to be free, expanded. Freedom became a “state of mind” backed by reflected action. The secret of Juneteenth was front and center. Emancipation meant social, political, financial and moral equality. It meant justice under the law. As the demands increased, the lines that separated fact from fiction decreased. Normalcy took on a new face that said, “Ideas and concepts have no race, color or creed.”
The Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s was a continuation of the “dream of freedom” slaves had envisioned on June 19, 1885. That dream continues today. Great strides have been made. On June 17, 2022, President Joe Biden proclaimed June 19, 2022, a national holiday.
Conscience Defines the Secret of Juneteenth
The secret of Juneteenth is not a liberated body from “the Massa’s plantation,” it’s a state of mine–a mind that says all resources must be equally available to all. Bigotry, inferiority, superiority and social domination have no place in democracy. Justice must become the sword of truth, and mercy works hand-in-hand with justice. Strangely . . . mercy never “dances with the wolves.”
Let us rejoice as one country, united in true freedom–a freedom that encompasses every man, woman and child. Only then, will we understand “the secret of Juneteenth.”