“Today is June 19, also referred to as Juneteenth. I see Juneteenth as a peculiar chapter in US history about that peculiar institution of slavery. For those unfamiliar with Juneteeth, let me give you some background. President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation to end slavery on January 1, 1863. However, it seems that the folks in Galveston, Texas “didn’t get that memo!” until June 19, 1865 (two and half years after slavery ended). The “news” was delivered on June 19, 1865 by Major General Gordon Granger and the Union troops sent to ‘enforce the Proclamation.’ Hence “Juneteenth”
That was the first paragraph of my first Bamboozled No More column, Juneteenth, which appeared in Oddball Magazine on June 19, 2014. Well it’s June 19, again. I wonder, what direction will our collective consciousness move?
Our past and present have collided. Days earlier, a house of God was desecrated. A 21 year old white man entered an African-American church and massacred the members. Yesterday it was reported that the shooter had been taken into custody.
Upon hearing of the story, I thought about the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. Three young girls were killed, their bodies mutilated by the explosion.
I am chilled by the thought that there are people who continue to embrace some perverse vendetta based on myths and lies.
I read the comments that followed the news reports. One “person” described the shooter as a misguided coward, because he killed old Church people instead of shooting up the ghetto.
At such times I look to heaven and weep.
Janet Cormier is a painter, writes prose and poetry, and performs comedy. Today she celebrates her one year anniversary as a columnist for Oddball Magazine.