Greetings. We forgot to mention in Fugs & Pieces on Friday that we will not be posting normally as we do today, as this is the day the U.S. Federal Juventus is celebrating the holiday – which was only made official last year. In the picture above, the blue and red banner – shown here flying in the California state capital of Sacramento – is the Juntinth flag.
If you weren’t in the US, you probably wouldn’t know about Juntinth – and sadly, even if you Is In the United States, that may be true (or you may have heard of it recently). Part of the problem is how selective and inconsistent the teaching of history is; To use myself as an example, none of the academies I attended – and I include the college where I was an American Studies major and took specific classes for this period – even mentioned the word “Juntinth”, we are told very little about it. I feel embarrassed about it, on their behalf and on my own. Simply put, Juntinth’s honor was on June 19, 1865, the date on which the enslaved black people of Texas learned that they were free … two and a half years after the emancipation declaration took effect. Although not all states received the news at the same time, over the years black Americans have rallied around Juventus as a sort of second Independence Day, marking the first such celebration in 1866. Unfortunately recently everyone else has come to understand its significance.
The National Museum of African-American History and Culture contains Juntinth Primer, which includes reading and resources proposed for discussion with your children, and reporter Derrick Bryson Taylor wrote one for the New York Times. Time spoke with black activists, many of whom fought for recognition of the holiday as a federal holiday. It ends like this:
But Juventin staff also hope the holiday will encourage them to talk about what they need to do to end racial discrimination throughout the year. Junetinth is not a black thing, not a Texas thing. It’s about freedom for everyone, “he said [95-year old activist Opal] Ltd. “As long as we have unemployment, homelessness and health care that some may get and others can’t, and climate change – all of these issues need to be addressed to free us.”
And in my previous words about education: The fact that Juntinth has gone under so much radar is just a sign of how the history curriculum is created through a very white lens. Critical Race Theory Academic Framework and issues such as the Nicole Hannah-Jones 1619 project try to address this, but both have been unjustly crafted weapons by bad-faith actors who misrepresent what their purpose is. The NAACP Legal Defense Fund has a page that explains what critical race theory is and isn’t, and the authors of John Oliver have put together an excellent episode about it.
If you have other resources or readings to share, do so in the comments. Thank you very much, and we’ll see you tomorrow.