Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Discovering Juneteenth

Image result for juneteenth day

June 19th is of special significance in our family because it's the birthday of our firstborn who is 37 today. How did that happen? A moment ago I was in dazed celebration of the birth of our son following a high-speed drive from the Newfoundland outport where we lived to the hospital in Gander, 60 kilometres away.

This is also Juneteenth, commemorating June 19th, 1865, which is believed to be the day the last plantation of enslaved Black people received their freedom - a full year after Lincoln “freed the slaves.” I had no idea of this anniversary even though I think I have a copy of Ralph Ellison's novel of the same name, a book I obviously haven't read.

Image result for juneteenth ellison

I am reading a biography of Frederick Douglass, the escaped slave who became an eloquent spokesperson for emancipation decades before it came to pass. Douglass was an orator, an activist, and a Christian who quoted scripture with ease and understood the themes of liberation which run through the bible.

Juneteenth falls into the category of "you learn something new every day." Thank God and Twitter that this has come to light for me.

Image result for frederick douglass biography


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