Friday, June 19, 2020

Happy Juneteenth

I received the following from an outfit called People's Action:

"Juneteenth, a day that honors Black freedom and Black resistance and honors Black people’s unique contribution to the struggle for justice in the United States."

From Wikipedia:

. . . to commemorate Union army general Gordon Granger announcing federal orders in the city of Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865, proclaiming that all slaves in Texas were now free.

So, yes, "Black freedom". But "Black resistance"? "Black people's unique contribution"? Not especially. Rather, emancipation was something done for blacks by white unionists, much as the transatlantic slave-trade was abolished by the British. This was something of a historical aberration; generally, when a people stopped being enslaved, it was because they developed a sufficiently strong nation-state to stop it themselves, much as Europe, led by America, stopped the trafficking in Europeans by the Barbary Pirates. Africans got to skip that step.

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