Saturday, June 18, 2016


Tomorrow is an important day for the US called Juneteenth (though many are celebrating it today instead of a Sunday).  It celebrates the day on June 19th of 1865 when Union troops occupying Texas formally announced that those who had until then been slaves were now to be free and equal to any other person in the US.  Today black communities throughout the US honor this day as a general celebration of black people and black experience in the country

I was not aware of this holiday growing up, since I'm not black and, unfortunately, most non-blacks don't celebrate this day that should be important for all people in the US.  So I wasn't in the loop.  I also wonder if it's not as big of a thing in Chicago as elsewhere.  A cursory internet search shows only three celebrations going on in Chicago, only one of which is in the heart of the city's Black Belt.  Plus a political commemoration yesterday.  Maybe the celebration is overshadowed by Chicago's own huge black event, the Bud Billiken parade, which by some counts is the largest parade in the US, larger even than the Macy's Thanksgiving one in New York.  Or maybe I'm just clueless, and that's why I wasn't tuned in to Juneteenth as a kid.  In any case, from now on I will keep Juneteenth, at least in my heart and my household, even if no one's heard of it in the foreign locales I call home.

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