Today is Juneteenth, so let’s do a Juneteenth ramble.
Ramble of the Day
With Juneteenth having increased recognition from U.S. states, private companies, and the like this year, I thought it a good idea to share some resources on it, particularly for those who may not be that familiar with the day’s history. After reading through a number of items this week, I have found that the players associations of the National Women’s Soccer League, the U.S. women’s national team, and the National Women’s Hockey League collaborated well for a two part introduction.
First, the history. It’s a little bit nuanced - Juneteenth (June 19th) isn’t the day slavery was abolished in the U.S., but the day in 1865 Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger announced in Galveston, Texas that slaves in the state were free.
Like I mentioned, there is both a long history before Juneteenth and after it — that includes the Emancipation Proclamation signed in 1863 and the process of actually abolishing slavery, and the further oppression of Black people in America. There are a number of resources out there, but for a longer history of how the U.S. got to Juneteenth and the immediate history after it, I will recommend this Vox explainer on the holiday.
Next, the way to commemorate the day:
Celebrations call for “family gatherings, guest speakers, cookouts, and unbelievably good food,” and this year USWNT players are encouraging people to get meals from Black owned restaurants. Along with the Vox piece, an article from The Washington Post has some information about how the first Juneteenth was celebrated in 1866:
Black men, women and children dressed in their finest attire and gathered to sing spirituals, pray, play baseball and eat. Often the menus included fried chicken, cornbread, greens and handmade strawberry soda.
“The red color of the soda symbolized blood shed during slavery,” [C.R.] Gibbs [author of Black, Copper, & Bright] said.
There would be special invitations for the oldest freed men and women to recount the horrors of slavery and the sweetness of freedom.
“This was partying with purpose — not only for the people to join the celebration but to learn directly from the past,” Gibbs said.
Another powerful ingredient in early Juneteenth celebrations was that the early festivities took place on land owned by black people.
“There was an extra sense of pride,” Gibbs said. “It was a matter of racial pride and uplift to show even in the face of searing racial hatred, ‘We are property owners.’ It showed progress.
Finally, I will recommend a collection of articles, poetry, quotes, and images from The New York Times to celebrate Juneteenth this year, reflecting on both its history and the progression of Black freedom over the century and a half. The collection of articles include one on caring for oneself, the celebrations of Juneteenth over the years, and on the names of influential Black women.
It is a lot of information, but worth taking in because it is not just a very important day in American history, but one that has been adopted in some format around the world. This is history that a lot of us didn’t get in school, myself included, but is essential to our understanding of the way the U.S. works, and in many ways how the world works.
Links of the Day
Chelsea signed Timo Werner from RB Leipzig, and the forward will join the club in July.
UEFA adjusted its Financial Fair Play rules to cover losses suffered by clubs during the coronavirus pandemic.
Former Barcelona assistant Juan Carlos Unzué was diagnosed with motor neuron disease.
Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish was charged with driving without due care for a car accident in March.
A longer read: Joshua Law interviews Sandro on how he’s keeping busy during the pandemic and his time at Tottenham for Yellow & Green Football (featured in The Guardian)