Black history can’t be limited to only 1 dayPublished 12:28am Sunday, June 17, 2012
Tuesday marks an unofficial, but important holiday for some locals and will hardly be a blip on the calendar for others.
June 19 is the day that some communities — ours among them — celebrated Juneteenth, the date on which black slaves in Galveston, Texas, learned they were free.
Through the years, the date has been turned into an unofficial black holiday of sorts, and while the purpose of the celebration is good, local historians tell us the historical accuracy isn’t correct.
Officially, June 19 didn’t mean much to local people during the Civil War, as General Ulysses S. Grant’s arrival to the area in 1863 officially ended slavery in our area.
Regardless of the historical accuracy, celebrating the freedom from slavery can be considered the African-American Independence Day and a day of great importance. For most people of color, up until the Civil War changed things, July 4 celebrations gave no reason to celebrate, since most blacks were enslaved for nearly the first 100 years of our country’s existence.
Whether or not we celebrate Juneteenth or simply choose to acknowledge the importance of black emancipation throughout the year, the important contributions of black people to America’s history must be acknowledged.
In Natchez-Adams County, that means continuing to make efforts to include black history as part of the overall history we show to tourists — on June 19 and every other day of the year.