The Morgan County African American Museum will holding an Junteenth Celebration at the Museum on Saturday, June 16, 2018, from 2:00 pm t0 4:09 pm. Junteenth also known as Freedom Day, is celebration that commerates the June 19, 1865, announcement of the abolution of slavery. The news was first received in the state of Texas, and was generally the emancipation of enslaved Africans through the former Confederacy of the southern United States. Come join our celebation and enjoy finding about our history and legacy.
I love history because for me it is an opportunity for us to right the errors of the past if we will be but take the time to learn from the mistakes that of the past.
While I was working on my own complete family genealogy, I begin to feel this connection with my ancestors and I began to really feel that I was somehow letting them down. I felt the years of struggle of a people who lived during a time when their voice was silenced by slavery, and society. My own family is made up of African Ancestry, Native American Ancestry, & European Ancestry and so I felt this unique call from each of those races to learn from them and to try to unite them.
History is an even greater teacher when it becomes personal…..
As a child, I have always appreciated diversity and had this great desire to fill my life with the fruits of that but with the concrete example of my own ancestry heightened this awareness in me.
One of the greatest blessings and rewards of history is to truly hear from the ghosts of the past. One day while I sat pouring through the documents of my ancestors, I began to focus on what I had before me. I was looking at a glimpse of the life of a person who had lived years before and was gone but they had left a footprint in the sands of time for me and for anyone else who would take the time to pay attention.
My passion for history is part of that discovery, being a super sleuth and finding all the clues of a past that have been long ago forgotten and bringing those ancient voices back to life. The moments of joy, love, laughter that filled a person’s life.
If I am composed of the DNA of all those who have gone before me then I am this patchwork quilt of their life and their memories, their experiences and so each of their voices cry out to me because they are all a part of me, my bones, the truest essence of who I am as a person.
As African Americans we are this anomaly this patchwork quilt of many races, and people. We are the product of racial harmony. We must honor the memory and legacy of the giants who have gone before us.
It is in this moment that we must choose to make an effort to build the type of community and world where we want to live. It is time to let our voice began to rise above. We must become a real part of the Change that we want to see happen, we owe that to the memory of those who have gone before.
I have heard America described as a melting pot but I feel a more apt description is one that I heard from one of my college professors where he described America as a salad bowl. I feel that this is perhaps one of the most appropriate descriptions of who we are as a nation, because in a salad each ingredient maintains the flavor, truth and uniqueness of its own identity while still working extremely well together to produce a wonderful, tasty product.
That is my connotation of community as well. Community is one of those unique English words which exists as a single entity while in tandem is composed of multiple voices and races. The more diverse expression a community has the stronger that community is.
The question that inevitably arises from the number of European visitors which we get on a regular basis is why don't Southerners discuss the topic of slavery and does racism still exist in this nation. The openness with which they ask this question has led me to the realization that as a nation we still have so much healing to undergo. The wounds of slavery are still fresh and run deep so as a result the topic of race can be one of those hot button issues which causes everyone to get a little tense when the topic is brought up. Because of the level of tension that the topic elicits slavery has become taboo in our culture.
However, it is the roots and ancestry of African American people. It is our heritage and contributes to who we are. If I have a conversation with older African Americans who had a more direct involvement with slavery the shame and degradation is palpable in the conversation. They seem ashamed that they had to be associated with the institution however, generations removed, as a person who has been left that legacy as a part of my own heritage I consider it an extreme badge of honor to be an heir of a people who had such strength and courage.
I am proud of the legacy which I inherited from such strong people of tremendous courage who were shaped by their own American story and yet remained unbroken.
As the heirs of those who have gone before us we are charged with the responsibility to honor their memory and to speak for those who had no voice. We must become the physical representation of a their American legacy in order to weave our story into the fabric of this nation.