By Jean Paul Cortorreal
June 19th 1865, a date that has reached the masses only recently, but has been celebrated officially amongst Black Americans since 1867. Of course we all were taught about the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, but because of reasons that aren’t very clear (probably because the reason is racist and partly because phones and email weren’t invented yet) the last slaves weren’t aware of their freedom until two and a half years later. Juneteenth celebrations waned in the 20th century, but in recent memory have been pushed back to the forefront.
Juneteenth has been celebrated for years; the first celebrations included activities such as Rodeos (yes Black cowboys were a thing and they were fucking drippy), BBQ’s (as if we needed any more confirmation that BBQs were a Black celebration staple) and most importantly- education and sharing stories of the past to ensure the future bears better results. Which is why I would like to bring to you some knowledge of the past so we can learn from the people who laid it out on the line so we can have the lives we have now. Although 2020 it seems we have so much to still fight for, it’s important to understand the battles before that got us here. So before the “I’m not my ancestors, I’ll fight you” crowd says a word they can learn the ancestors were down to do more than slapping a person making racist statements.
THE STONO REBELLION – 1739
Before America was even America, slaves were rebelling trying to gain their freedom. 20 slaves led by an Angolan named Jemmy formed a rebellion starting at the Stono River in South Carolina. After acquiring guns from a local store they raided, the rebellion marched through towns bringing justice to slave owners while gaining more soldiers as the newly freed slaves joined. Traveling over 50 miles before being ambushed by colonials where a majority of the rebels were murdered or captured and then sold out of the country to the Caribbean.
NAT TURNER’S SLAVE REBELLION – 1831
Maybe the most famous rebellion, Nat Turner led about 75 men throughout Virginia and served justice to an estimated 55 white slave owners. As this story is well told I just want to highlight one fact that many publications omit. Nat Turner and 16 others were hung for their roles in the rebellion as these publications state, but they seem to not say how his body was then skinned, dismembered and then eaten by some white families in Virginia. This also sparked the law forbidding slaves to learn to read or write.
There are many more rebellions like these that shaped the future of this country; we are now rebelling to shape the future of this country. So as we celebrate how far we have come from June 19th 1865, we must keep fighting so the future can have more celebrations.
It also wouldn’t be a celebration without music, here is a Juneteenth curated playlist created by Rille (@thatRILLE)
Some Black Owned Businesses(in white dominant industries)
https://www.hjrussell.com/ H.J Russell & Co.
https://www.mckinc.com/ McKissack &McKissack
https://shoppeblack.us/2019/04/black-owned-farms-food-gardens/ Full List Of Black Owned Farms Nationwide
https://pyermoss.com/ Pyer Moss
Beyondyarnunion.com Beyond Yarn – Fiber, Art and more.
https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-black-owned-galleries-support-united-states – List of Black owned art galleries
https://www.urbancowboy.com/ Urban Cowboy Bed and Breakfast (NY and Tennessee)
https://www.eatokra.com/ EatOkra- App To Find Black Owned Restaurants
https://linktr.ee/whatsthemovenyc What’s The Move NYC- App To Find Activities in NYC