It’s not just trends. It’s love.

  • Today is Juneteenth, but a somber one after the events in Charleston.
  • Tupac (who is alive) celebrated his 44th birthday in Cuba (where he definitely is—alive).
  • Paul McCartney turned 73 but he only wrote that one song about getting old, so…
  • The Chicago Blackhawks are hosing out the guac that LA left in the Stanley Cup.
  • Mixed reactions to Rachel Dolezal—anger, outrage, confusion, derision, sarcasm, snark… memes.
  • Professional bender Aliya Mustafina took gold at the first ever European Games, Baku 2015.
  • The Pope called the planet “an immense pile of filth” in his encyclical on climate change.
  • Phineas and Ferb finally went back to school.
  • Steven Universe became one with a rock.
  • Zootopia is a film about animals with human problems.
  • Jurassic World is a film about humans with an animal problem.
  • And The Secret Life of Pets is a film about a bunch of problem animals.

Also, a Fanfic Trend Challenge for our writerly readers:

  • This season of Orange is the New Black introduced the Time Hump Chronicles, an “erotically inclined” novel by Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren. Your job is to envision Sophie Hunter as Edwina and Benedict Cumberbatch as Space Admiral Rodcocker. Involve the cumberbaby. Go. And tag your story #OITNBaby.

And check out two of the week’s most popular blogs:

Image via orangeskins

150 years ago today 150,000 slaves in Texas were finally freed.

It’s 1865. You’re a slave in Texas, it’s been three years since President Abraham Lincoln declared all slaves emancipated. But your life hasn’t changed; things are still terrible. In fact, hordes of slave owners from Louisiana, Alabama and elsewhere have decided they aren’t letting their slaves go without a fight, and dragged more than 150,000 of them to the Lone Star state and put them to work right next to you.

Then, on June 19 — 150 years ago Friday, in fact — it happens: Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger of the Union Army issues General Orders No. 3, declaring all slaves freed in the state of Texas. And thus was born Juneteenth — the most widely recognized (yet undervalued) commemoration of the end of American slavery. Everyone in the U.S. should celebrate Juneteenth.

Happy Juneteenth! This holiday marks the end of the official institution of slavery in the United States, and was historically widely celebrated by black Americans. The photo above is of a 1905 celebration in Richmond, Virginia.

On this day in 1865, enslaved people in Texas were informed of their freedom, two years following the Emancipation Proclamation. Also on this day, the Civil Rights Act of 1963 was passed, after an 83 day filibuster in the US Senate. This is the 150th anniversary of Juneteenth, meaning that official chattel slavery ended in the United States only six generations ago. 

This is an important day to remember and honor all those who struggled against this titanic evil- those whose names we know, and the countless others whose resistance was not recorded and lost to history. 

“The white chillen tries teach me to read and write but I didn’ larn much, ‘cause I allus workin’. Mother was workin’ in the house, and she cooked too. She say she used to hide in the chimney corner and listen to what the white folks say. When freedom was ‘clared, marster wouldn’ tell ‘em, but mother she hear him tellin’ mistus that the slaves was free but they didn’ know it and he’s not gwineter tell ‘em till he makes another crop or two. When mother hear that she say she slip out the chimney corner and crack her heels together four times and shouts, ‘I’s free, I’s free.’ Then she runs to the field, ‘gainst marster’s will and tol’ all the other slaves and they quit work. Then she run away and in the night she slip into a big ravine near the house and have them bring me to her. Marster, he come out with his gun and shot at mother but she run down the ravine and gits away with me.”

TEMPIE CUMMINS, who was born at Brookeland, Texas. At the time of her interview (between 1936 and 1938) she lived in Jasper, Texas.

Excerpt from the Slave Narratives: a Folk History of Slavery in the United States From Interviews with Former Slaves, Texas Narratives, Part 1; Work Projects Administration, Federal Writers’ Project, 1936-1938

Source: American Memory, Library of Congress

The Historical Legacy of Juneteenth

Photo:  Juneteenth day celebration in Texas. 1900. 

Juneteenth is one of the most important events in our nation’s history. On “Freedom’s Eve” or the eve of January 1, 1863 the first Watch Night services took place. On that night, enslaved and free African Americans gathered in churches and private homes all across the country awaiting news that the Emancipation Proclamation had taken effect.

At the stroke of midnight, prayers were answered as all enslaved people in the Confederate States were declared legally free. Union soldiers, many of whom were black, marched onto plantations and across cities in the south reading small copies of the Emancipation Proclamation spreading the news of freedom.

But not everyone in Confederate territory would immediately be free. Even though the Emancipation Proclamation was made effective in 1863, it could not be implemented in places still under Confederate control. This meant that in the westernmost Confederate state of Texas, enslaved people would not be free until much later. On June 19, 1865 that changed, when enslaved African Americans in Galveston Bay, TX were notified by the arrival of some 2,000 Union troops that they, along with the more than 250,000 other enslaved black people in the state, were free by executive decree.

Photo:  Publishers throughout the North responded to a demand for copies of Lincoln’s proclamation and produced numerous decorative versions including this engraving by R. A. Dimmick in 1864. National Museum of American History, gift of Ralph E. Becker. 

The post-emancipation period known as Reconstruction (1865-1877) marked an era of great hope, uncertainty, and struggle for the nation as a whole. Formerly enslaved people immediately sought to reunify families, establish schools, run for political office, push radical legislation and even sue slaveholders for compensation. This was nothing short of amazing! Not even a generation out of enslavement, African Americans were inspired and empowered to completely transform their lives and their country.

In my opinion, Juneteenth (as that day was called by the freed enslaved people in Texas) marks our country’s second independence day. Though it has long been celebrated among the African American community it is a history that has been marginalized and still remains largely unknown to the wider public.

The historical legacy of Juneteenth shows the value of deep hope and urgent organizing in uncertain times. The National Museum of African American History and Culture is a community space where that spirit can continue to live on – where histories like this one can surface, and new stories with equal urgency can be told.

Tsione Wolde-Michael is the Writer/Editor for the Office of Curatorial Affairs, Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. She is also a Doctoral Candidate in History at Harvard University.


CultureHISTORY: Juneteenth Day 2014 *Sepia Visions*

Happy Juneteenth! The day we got free. Some also call it “Emancipation Day”. On June 19, 1865, Union General Gordon Granger, along with 2,000 federal troops, arrived in Galveston, Texas, and read the following statement:

“The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, ALL SLAVES ARE FREE.”

More on Juneteenth history here. Photo credits where available below.

  1. Slaves. Unknown plantation c. 1860s
  2. 1862 Smith’s Plantation, Beaufort County, SC
  3. Two runaway slaves c. 1862-1863
  4. Civil War Union soldier and his family
  5. Two ex-slaves c. 1900s

Happy #Juneteenth !!!!
Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States.  Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that theenslaved were now free. Note that this was two and a half years after President Lincoln’sEmancipation Proclamation - which had become official January 1, 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on the Texans due to the minimal number of Union troops to enforce the new Executive Order. However, with the surrender of General Lee in April of 1865, and the arrival of General Granger’s regiment, the forces were finally strong enough to influenceand overcome the resistance.

A Texas county just accidentally endorsed reparations for black Americans 

The Dallas County Commissioners Court has officially endorsed reparations for slavery.

Too bad they did it by accident. The court unanimously passed Tuesday what they thought was a “routine proclamation” commemorating Juneteenth — the day black slaves were freed in Texas in 1865.

Little did they know, the resolution also featured a list of historical injustices committed against slave descendants. It ended by declaring that black Americans should be “satisfied with monetary and substantial reparations” for their suffering. 

Really. | Follow micdotcom

What would it feel like to be living in a world where the nation state of Germany was executing people, especially if they were disproportionately Jewish? It would be unconscionable.

And yet, in the states of the Old South, we execute people – where you’re 11 times more likely to get the death penalty if the victim is white than if the victim is black, 22 times more likely to get it if the defendant is black and the victim is white – in the very states where there are buried in the ground the bodies of people who were lynched.

—  Bryan Stevenson, We need to talk about an injustice

Happy Juneteenth! This holiday marks the end of the official institution of slavery in the United States, and was historically widely celebrated by black Americans. The photo above is of a 1905 celebration in Richmond, Virginia. 

On this day in 1865, enslaved people in Texas were informed of their freedom, two years following the Emancipation Proclamation. Also on this day, the Civil Rights Act of 1963 was passed, after an 83 day filibuster in the US Senate. 

Juneteenth: 150 Years Ago, Black America Got Its Own Independence Day
What better way to celebrate the start of summer than marking the day when the last slaves in the nation gained their freedom?
By Laura Saunders Egodigwe

“Only after Union soldiers, led by Major Gen. Gordon Granger, worked their way South for more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation did word reach Galveston Island. On June 19, 1865, known as Juneteenth—a melding of the day’s month and date—the last remaining slaves in America were declared free.”


White People, you’re welcome! 


Top: artist David Hammons‘ African American Flag. Bottom: Juneteenth Flag designed by Ben Haith.

It’s Juneteenth.

One hundred fifty years ago today, on June 19th, 1865, slavery’s abolition finally reached Texas.

Yesterday, on June 18th, 2015, a 5-4 Supreme Court decision upheld Texas’s rejection of Confederate battle flags’ appearing on its license plates.

Two days ago, on June 17th, 2015, a white supremacist terrorist, whose own car featured a Confederate plate, murdered nine people—Bible study members Cynthia Marie Graham Hurd, 54, Susie Jackson, 87, Depayne Middleton, 49, Tywanza Sanders, 26, and Myra Thompson, 59, church sexton Ethel Lee Lance, 70, Reverends Daniel Simmons, 74, and Sharonda Singleton, 45, and Pastor and South Carolina state senator Clementa C. Pinckney—inside Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.

It was, not incidentally, 193 years ago on that day that a thwarted slave uprising organized by church co-founder Denmark Vesey was meant to take place.

Today, on Juneteenth’s sesquicentennial, South Carolina’s state and American flags are lowered in tribute to its most recent terror victims, while its Confederate flag remains up high in tribute to terror. Worth noting: state law preventing lowering it, an act of dubious merit regardless, is a mere 15 years young.

I was about to write, “History is shorter than it seems.” However, that isn’t quite accurate. History isn’t so much a short book as a strangely convoluted one, a book whose pages turn yet don’t advance. America’s enduring anti-Black terror predates America’s own founding; it’s long, 400 years long, and we continue to steep in it, surrounded everywhere by its symbols as more victims are claimed each day.

Were we to tear down terror’s banners, to cover and outshine them using our own, what might come? I can’t say, except that so long as symbols of slavery are unabashedly placed above us, it’s emblematic of pages’ turning to no effect.

Juneteenth: A Celebration of Freedom

Charles A. Taylor

 Juneteenth: A Celebration of Freedom expresses the jubilation that occurred on June 19, 1865 when African American people in Texas were the last to be freed from the horrors of slavery, over two months after the end of the Civil War. Taylor’s 32-page book, full of colorful illustrations, archival photographs, and historical documents, makes the information about Juneteenth accessible for readers aged ten and up.

Juneteenth is the oldest African American celebration in the United States and is quickly becoming one of the most popular holidays observed by Black Americans.