Juneteenth (aka “Liberation Day”) is June 19th.
For anyone who hasn’t heard of Juneteenth:
(image alt-text at bottom of page)
Today, Juneteenth 2020, marks 155 years since the official liberation of African American slaves in Texas, the final U.S. state with legal slavery.
155 years, and racism isn’t over.
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The biggest issue I have with public school education in the USA is how little they tell us about the struggles of non-white people.
For example, the terrible things the U.S. did to obtain Hawaii were very glossed-over in our history books.
The thing I’ve been finding out most recently is the disconnect between our education about African American history, and the reality of Black people living here today.
They taught us that there was slavery, and then a Civil War, ending with President Lincoln freeing the slaves.
They taught us about Martin Luther King Jr, Rosa Parks, and the Civil Rights movement, and how it “ended” segregation.
They taught us, vaguely, how much racism there “used to be” . . .
They portrayed racism as if it was ancient history.
They failed to tell us that racism isn’t over.
People of color figured this out on their own.
White kids, however, got to live in a happy little illusion that we’re living in the golden age of equality.
Public education failed us, and now we have to educate ourselves.
I’m not qualified to speak anything more about the experiences of people of color, as I’m still learning, but I’m making a promise now to keep paying attention and learning.
There’s still so much that needs to be learned and done.
Racism isn’t over.
Accessible alt-text for image from Juneteenth.com:
“Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. Note that this was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation – which had become official January 1, 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on the Texans due to the minimal number of Union troops to enforce the new Executive Order. However, with the surrender of General Lee in April of 1865, and the arrival of General Granger’s regiment, the forces were finally strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance.”