Juneteenth: The Once Proud Holiday Declined by White Approval

How Juneteenth was Whitewashed

Jamaal Brewer

6/17/2022 3 min read

I grew up in Columbus, Ohio. An underrated city in the fight for Black liberation. Father's day weekend there would be special. Not just because we honored our fathers but also you could go to Franklin Park on East Broad street and enjoy three days of Juneteenth festivities from Friday - Sunday. There would be talent shows, vendors, BBQ, and more. Juneteenth was a Holiday for the grassroots. When the bourgeoisie was preparing for the slave holiday 4th of July, we were teaching people about one that got us out of slavery. But what happened? Our insecurities took over. Let me explain.

The unfortunate and tragic death of George Floyd sparked a global outrage. It led to the largest protest in the United States since the Civil Rights movement. Simultaneously the Covid Pandemic struck at the same time. There were so much frustration built up from unemployment due to the pandemic to seeing our fellow black brethren suffocate to his death by racist police officer Derek Chauvin. Enough was enough and this led to partial pieces of Black empowerment.

Covid and George Floyd both occurred in 2020. I mentioned the proud Juneteenth celebration in which I witnessed growing up. In this exact same year, I went to celebrate the holiday at another venue (the one at Franklin Park discontinued years ago) in Columbus and something caught my eye almost immediately. There were more White people than usually and it seemed to be integrated by members of the LGBT community. White liberals had partaken in the George Floyd rallies and now inserted themselves into other black causes. And in doing so put their hidden agenda into the forefront.

Fast forward one year later. On June 17th 2021, United States President Joseph Biden signed into law that Juneteenth would become the 11th Federal Holiday and Blacks in America started to celebrate. But why? You can find documents in which we celebrated back in 1866. Only one year after the alleged last slaves were free in Galveston, Texas. In the 1940's hundreds of thousands of Blacks in Texas would get together at the State Fair each year, taking off from work, for remembrance. In 1978; Milwaukee, Wisconsin had an estimated eye whopping 100,000 attendees celebrate Juneteenth. Juneteenth is NOT a new holiday. Here's what went wrong...

We are suckers for Symbolism. Even though we still pump the Black fists, still quote Malcolm X, still talk about how wicked the police forces are; We still feel ashamed of ourselves even if it's subconsciously. Otherwise, how can you explain that despite observing Juneteenth for almost 150 years that it took a President's signature to feel holly? Juneteenth has been an 'official' holiday for just one year. And if that very short span here are some of the controversies it has stirred once Whites and liberals Co-oped.

Walmart apologizes for selling Juneteenth ice cream - https://edition.cnn.com/2022/05/24/business-food/walmart-juneteenth-ice-cream/index.htmlNancy

Pelosi and a group of Black lawmakers sing "Lift Every Voice and Sing" - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LAH5lTuKadgChildren’s

Museum Apologizes For Juneteenth ‘Watermelon Salad’ - https://www.bet.com/article/sg0dlp/childrens-museum-apologizes-for-juneteenth-watermelon-salad

Throughout history joining other movements has destroyed what we have tried to create. This is no exception. Speaking of Malcolm X and quotes. He spoke on this and advised us on solutions to overturn...

"The government itself has failed us. And the white liberals who have been posing as our friends have failed us. And once we see that all of these other sources to which we've turned have failed, we stop turning to them and turn to ourselves. We need a self-help program, a do-it-yourself philosophy, a do-it-right-now philosophy, a it's-already-too-late philosophy. This is what you and I need to get with. And the only time – the only way we're going to solve our problem is with a self-help program. Before we can get a self-help program started, we have to have a self-help philosophy. Black nationalism is a self-help philosophy." Ballet or Bullet Speech, 1964.

I personally will continue to celebrate Juneteenth. But I will practically ignore any government intervention. I'm also mindful that we have a history that dates back THOUSANDS of years before slavery. So though I respect the festivities it is not our beginnings and only a fraction of what we have overcome. We are becoming more culturally aware. But as long as we continue to need White validation for our success, we will continue to take steps back no matter how many we take forward.