Juneteenth: a renewed interest

Juneteenth: un intérêt renouvelé

Rarely on the 19th of June, will there be as much attracted attention. Although difficult, in the social climate today, to ignore the day that commemorates the emancipation of a group of slaves in Texas.

As if the protests that followed the death of George Floyd did not suffice, the gathering of the president in Tulsa, tomorrow, and the reactions of Facebook and Twitter advertisements or tweets from the president are throwing oil on the fire.

Despite the risks involved, Donald Trump has never hesitated to provoke or disturb in the records of the racial question and immigration. An explosive mixture of ignorance, provocation and recklessness. We go beyond just the lack of delicacy or diplomacy. We touch, rather in original sin the u.s., and a scar that has never healed.

To understand how this date is important and sensitive topic, I said that we could, together, go back briefly in time. Interestingly, the national Archives announced this morning that we thought we had found the official declaration of June 19, 1865.

It is a document written by major F. W. Emery on behalf of major-general Gordon Granger. Not only it confirms that all the slaves are now free, but it also adds the following information: “This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between use and hired labor.” The former slaves are not free, they are considered equal and enjoy the same rights.

We now know that, if the rights are recognized from the start, the discrimination and the segregation will prevent too long, the full recognition, unfortunately. Do I really need to add that the black community always composed with a very slow development of the cultural references, that prejudices are still many and that this community is more heavily affected by a host of social issues such as access to education, poverty or police violence?

The origin of the celebrations of the June 19, is as old as the document signed by general Granger, but they were often limited to the State of Texas, and had no official recognition. It should be until 1970 that Texas should be a party recognised.

It is from the 1980s and 1990s that the “Day of emancipation” or “freedom Day” is celebrated almost everywhere in the United States, first by the black community, and then, with time, by a greater number of citizens. It is an activist by the name of Ben Haith who will have the idea of designing the flag that will be flown today to the top of many public buildings. Helped in his approach by an illustrator from Boston, Haith will assemble on the flag several important symbols.

By observing the flag, you immediately notice the star. This star represents both the Texas (the Lone Star State), but also the freedom of Black people across the country.

Around the star, we find a form that represents a burst. It is the formation of a new star, the star of a new beginning for former slaves. The arch that separates the red and the blue returns to a new horizon.

The use of red, blue and white, recalled that the former slaves are citizens of the United States, they also belong to this country. For Haith, the message set must be positive, call on all citizens to continue to do more and better, and to do it together.

I stop here, but I thought it relevant to write a little note with the theme of this day too often ignored. On 19 June 1865, advising the slaves of Galveston, Texas, the end of slavery, and this date has now become a national symbol.

An administration that cares about the history of the country and the problems are still faced by the representatives of the black community would never have thought of organising a rally supporter to Tulsa in the current context. There are, however, a very long time that I’ve ceased to expect from this administration ignorant a minimum of decency and openness. Everything must be sacrificed to the glory of the president and his re-election.

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