Juneteenth History

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Justice, as we know, is often delayed for Black people. It wasn’t until years after the Emancipation Proclamation that many enslaved people learned of their freedom. Juneteenth stands as a testament to the resilience and strength of the Black community, who, despite the delay, never gave up hope. It’s my privilege to delve deeper into the history of Juneteenth in this post.

Juneteenth History

What is Juneteenth? 

Juneteenth is a significant African-American holiday commemorating the emancipation of enslaved Black people in the United States. Also referred to as African American Freedom Day, this day, June 19th, 1865, now known as Juneteenth, marks the day when news of the Emancipation Proclamation reached the last enslaved individuals in Galveston, Texas, two and a half years after the proclamation was originally issued.

What is Juneteenth, and why is it celebrated?

Why is it called Juneteenth? 

A crucial moment in African American history, June 19th, 1865, is also known as Juneteenth, a word combination of June and the nineteenth date.

When was the first Juneteenth celebration? 

The oldest known observances of Juneteenth in Texas can be traced back to 1865, during the Reconstruction era, which was two years after the Emancipation Proclamation.

Black communities across Texas began holding celebrations to commemorate the end of slavery.

The observances grew in scale in the 1980s and 1990s with the rise of Juneteenth music festivals, as June is also African American Music Month.

African Americans celebrate this day, which serves as a reminder of a time in our history when slavery was abhorrently acceptable.

When was Juneteenth recognized as a federal holiday? 

Juneteenth, a state holiday in Texas since 1980, was nationally recognized in 2021 when President Joe Biden signed a bill officially designating June 19th as a federal holiday.

Galveston, Texas Moody National Bank

My Juneteenth family story

I have vivid memories of my visit to Galveston, Texas. I was struck by the prevalence of financial institutions and establishments bearing the name Moody, such as the area’s chain of banks, Moody National Bank. Interestingly, Moody is my maiden name.

At first, I entertained the thought that I may come from a wealthy lineage of Moodys in Texas. However, this thought was wishful and far from reality.

Since I don’t have any genealogy records, it’s quite likely that my ancestors were enslaved persons in Texas, owned by families with the Moody surname.

My ancestors probably migrated as free people southeast to North Carolina, where my grandparents were born and raised.

So, it’s possible that I’m a descendant of the Moodys of Texas, but not in the fairytale sense. I’m more likely a descendant of enslaved people who contributed to the building and development of America for free.

“The limitations that are put on us by people’s framing of what Black hands can do is exhausting. But it doesn’t stop the work, and it doesn’t hinder my freedom because I have the ownership of knowledge.” —Chef Chris Williams, owner of Lucille’s

What foods to serve on Juneteenth

What foods to serve on Juneteenth

Soul food and the cuisine of Black people are not just recipes but a legacy of African American culture. They honor the culinary creations of our enslaved ancestors and showcase our creativity and ingenuity in utilizing the land to thrive.

Soul food enjoyed during Juneteenth celebrations reflects the rich history of our ancestral African roots. It’s a celebration of our cultural heritage and triumph over freedom that we can all appreciate.

Start here with these classic soul food Juneteenth menu ideas!

Juneteenth food ideas - red food and drink
Here I am with the official Juneteenth red drink, hibiscus tea.

Why is Juneteenth food red?

Juneteenth celebrations commence with a spread of classic African-American soul food dishes, especially red foods, and drinks, to honor the ancestors and their bloodshed on the quest for freedom.

Is there a Juneteenth flag?

The Juneteenth flag

The design of the Juneteenth flag is rich with symbolism. It depicts a bursting new star on the horizon, symbolizing new freedom and new opportunities for Black Americans.

The curved line under the star represents a new horizon of promise and opportunity. The red, white, and blue colors in the flag symbolize that enslaved African Americans and their descendants are all Americans.

How to celebrate Juneteenth

How to celebrate Juneteenth 

Get ready to celebrate Juneteenth with your loved ones!

Bring together your family and friends to honor this meaningful holiday by partaking in various Juneteenth traditions, from attire to colorful decorations and savoring delicious African American recipes.

Encourage everyone to participate in the celebrations by inviting them to bring a dish from the Juneteenth red foods menu. As Stephen Satterfield stated in the Netflix series High On The Hog, “We nourished a nation through our cooking and baked our traditions in the cuisines that would define America.”

How will you celebrate Juneteenth?

Like this post? Pin the below image to your Pinterest Soul Food Recipes board!

Juneteenth History & Food

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