Cheryl Holloway Celebrates Juneteenth

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I recently attended a Juneteenth Celebration in Maryland.

Here is some History of Juneteenth.

Juneteenth, also known as Juneteenth Independence Day or Freedom Day, is a holiday that commemorates the June 19, 1865 announcement of the abolition of slavery in Texas, and more generally the emancipation of African American  slaves throughout the Confederate South. Celebrated on June 19, the word is a portmanteau of “June” and “nineteenth.” Juneteenth is recognized as a state holiday or special day of observance in forty-five states.

Later attempts to explain this two and a half year delay in the receipt of this important news have yielded several versions that have been handed down through the years.  Any of these stories could be true.

  • Often told is the story of a messenger, who was murdered on his way to Texas with the news of freedom.
  • Another story is that the news was deliberately withheld by the enslavers/masters to maintain the labor force on the plantations.
  • Another story is that federal troops actually waited for the slave owners to reap the benefits of one last cotton harvest before going to Texas to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation.

Today, the holiday is observed primarily in local celebrations. Traditions include public readings of the Emancipation Proclamation the singing of traditional songs, such as “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” the Black American National Anthem, “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,”  an American Negro Spiritual and readings by noted African-American writers, such as Ralph Ellison and Maya Angelou.  Celebrations may include parades, rodeos, street fairs, cookouts, family reunions, park parties,  historical reenactments, or Miss Juneteenth contests.

Note: Special Thanks to Wikipedia.org and Juneteenth.com for the history.

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Note: Clip art compliments of the Internet and Cheryl Holloway.

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Can You Imagine A Bestseller in 1853?!

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Fact: All bestseller lists capture what books are high in the national reading consciousness.

Finding: It is obvious that the bestseller lists mean something to readers and to authors. To authors, it’s about sales and prestige.  To readers, it’s about deciding what books to purchase.

So, with this in mind, can you imagine what being on the bestseller list in 1853 meant?  And, can you imagine a former slave being on the bestseller list?

Wow, it must have been a magnificent feat.  I recently saw the movie, and was so impressed with his account of slavery during that era. Accolades to Steve McQueen, director of the movie.

 Book Title:  Twelve Years a Slave: Narrative of Solomon Northup, citizen of New York, kidnapped in Washington city in 1841, and rescued in 1853, from a cotton plantation near the Red River in Louisiana

Author: Solomon Northup

 Historical Accuracy:  The book is a memoir and slave narrative of an American black man who was born free in New York state but kidnapped in Washington, D.C., sold into slavery and kept in bondage for 12 years in Louisiana before the American Civil War. He provided details of slave markets in Washington, DC and New Orleans, as well as describing at length cotton and sugar cultivation on major plantations in Louisiana.

According to Wikipedia.org, it was published soon after Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and Northup’s book sold 30,000 copies and was considered a bestseller. Northup’s first-person account of his twelve years of bondage proved a dramatic story in the national political debate over slavery that took place in the years leading up to the Civil War. It drew endorsements from major Northern newspapers, anti-slavery organizations, and evangelical groups.

Imagine Solomon Northup did this without the Internet; without Amazon, Barnes and Noble or Books A Million; without New York Times, USA Today or the National Best Selling Lists; and without Facebook, YouTube or Twitter.  Yes, indeed, this was a magnificent feat!

In addition, Wikipedia.org stated: After being published in several editions in the 19th century, the book fell into obscurity for nearly 100 years, until it was re-discovered on separate occasions by two Louisiana historians, Dr. Sue Eakin, Louisiana State University at Alexandria and Dr. Joseph Logsdon, University of New Orleans.In the early 1960s, they researched and retraced Solomon Northup’s journeyand co-edited a historically annotated version that was published by Louisiana State University Press in 1968.

 “Hats off to Solomon Northup for writing a Bestseller in 1853 (160 years ago)!”

P.S. Twelve Years A Slave is #9 in the Top 10 Movies (Not Too Bad!).

Special Thanks to Wikipedia.org.

If you have any questions, experiences or thoughts on the topic, please leave a comment below.