Monday Ministerial Musings
By Rev. Mark William Ennis
2021 Blog Number 25
June 21, 2021
Juneteenth: An American Thing
A few years ago, I mentioned Juneteenth during a worship service. I was surprised that most folks had never heard of it. I wanted to make a bigger deal of it but most of the consistory did not feel the need or desire to do so. What surprised me most was a black woman with Caribbean origins told me that she had never heard of it before. Now it is a federal holiday as of this past Thursday when Joe Biden signed a bill into law. What a difference several years make in the knowledge of this holiday.
For those unfamiliar with this holiday, it has roots in Galveston, Texas on June 19, 1865. Of course, the Civil War ended in the spring of that year. Despite the ending of the war, many slaves still were held in captivity. Some slaveholders held onto slaves as long as they could through not telling the slaves of liberation and the lack of Union Troops to enforce the end of slavery. It took a bit of time for these soldiers to reach every pocket where slaves were held.
The last group of these slaves to be liberated was in Galveston, Texas. Union troops reached them on June 19. The result was a very large, impromptu beach party to celebrate freedom. Thus, began the tradition of Juneteenth.
I certainly believe that it is something to celebrate. Slavery is a major stain on our Nation’s history and I believe that we all ought to celebrate the ending of slavery. It disappoints me that I have seen Facebook posts claiming that Juneteenth is simply part of the “liberal agenda.” I’m certainly no liberal, nor do I have an agenda. As I celebrate American freedom each July 4th, so I celebrate the freedom of black citizens after they were treated so horribly for so many generations.
I celebrate the congress for passing this law and Joe Biden for signing it. Is it a “Left Wing thing?” Only if Thomas Jefferson’s writing that “all men are created equal” is a “Left Wing thing.” I simply thought that it was an “American Thing.”
To read more of Pastor Mark’s writings, please order a copy of his book:https://deepriverbooks.com/books/the-circle-of-seven/