Monday, June 19, 2006

Happy Juneteenth!




Today is June 19th, also known as Juneteenth, which celebrates the ending of American slavery. President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation became official on January 1, 1863. However, it took two and a half years for the news to reach all the slaves in Texas. After the surrender of General Lee in April 1865, Union soldiers were able to make their way into Texas. On June 19, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston with the news that the war was over and all slaves were now free. Juneteenth celebrations began! The celebration has always been big in Texas, but the tradition has been spreading to other states and even other countries.

While America won her freedom on July 4, 1776, not everyone was free. Juneteenth is America's Second Independence Day and lead the way for the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery. There is a growing movement and a petition attempting to establish the 19th of June as National Juneteenth Independence Day. Recently Boston's City Council signed a Resolution 0836 declaring June 19, 2006, as Juneteenth Day in Boston.

I've recently been working on my family tree and have been able to go back to the 1840's, when my paternal great-grandfather was born. Slavery seems so remote, but when you look at the span of a life, a real person, not just the number of years, it really is not that far back. It's only four generations and he was born a slave. It really makes me think of all that he and all my ancestors went through and how my life is so different.

Yesterday, was Father's Day and I spent it with my family. I showed them my blog and told them about this post. June is also National Soul Food Month. I asked my parents how they defined soul food. I can't write everything, because it ended up being quite a heated discussion. I'm a third generation Bostonian on my mom's side. My paternal grandmother was from the south, so there were some regional differences happening between my parents. Macaroni and cheese versus rice and black-eyed beans versus black-eyed peas caused quite the controversy!

My mom said that soul food came from the slaves taking the leftovers that nobody else wanted and making something delicious and nutritious. The foods were high in fat and cholesterol, because that was needed for a society that worked from sun-up until sun-down. All those calories were used. And my dad describe the making of soul food as improvisation, like jazz. Yes, I'm a child who was born in the 60's. Civil Rights Movement in full effect! I'm black and I'm proud!


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7 comments:

something from me said...

You should always be proud of who you are.
I wouldn't have guessed you were born in the 60's though (a compliment).
Did your family enjoy your blog.
Perhaps they can read mine too..

SM

suttonhoo said...

happy juneteenth! great post... one of my favorite flickr contacts posted this yesterday -- goes well with your subject -- http://www.flickr.com/photos/chicagoeye/169018597/

mariafog said...

Hey Anali, thanks for visiting my blog. BarBri isn't paying any attention to the knock and announce update--we covered both crim pro and evidence before that ruling, but it's my understanding that we're not tested on such recent developments. That's me hoping anyway :-)

wheresmymind said...

I would say that all of those soul foods sound really good and you should not only make them, but post up the recipes for us all ;)

Anali said...

SM - Thanks for the compliments and my family loved my blog. My mom was especially cracking up at all the funny comments!

suttonhoo - Thanks for the link! His photos are wonderful and it does go great with this post. I signed up for an account, just so I could leave a comment!

mariafog - You're welcome. Best of luck in studying!

wheresmymind - I'm perfecting my macaroni and cheese recipe, which I guess to my dad is blasphemy as far as soul food goes. When I get it just right, I'll definitely post it!

enyasi said...

Happy Juneteenth!

The soul food discussions sounds like a great one, macaroni and cheese is definitely in my definition as well. Let me know if you would like my mother's recipe.

I know what you mean about slavery seeming so remote until you realize how close it really is generation wise. On my mother's side her paternal great great grandmother had been a slave. While my grandmother and great aunts tell stories to this day of having to "pass" in order to work or attend school.

What a difference a generation or two makes... Wonder where we will be a generation or two in the future...

Anali said...

Enyasi - It really is pretty amazing how things can change in a generation. I mean our generation is the first one to actually have civil rights in this country. I would love your mom's mac & cheese recipe. Also her banana pudding one if you have it! I would consider that soul food too!

 
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