By Dr. Henry L. Ealy
When I think of Juneteenth (June 19th), I think of being a very young boy and sitting with my father as he would read Black American History to and with me.
My first books we’re written by Dr. Seuss and Mercer Mayer, but my first books were also written by Fredrick Douglass, Marcus Garvey, Maya Angelou, George Washington Carver, Miss Jane Pittman and Malcom X.
I was so lucky to have a well educated and mentally & spiritually emancipated father (Happy Father’s Day Dad – I LOVE YOU!) who never told me what to think, he only taught me how.
I would not be the proud Black American Man I am today, if not for him. And yes, I am proud of all 3 of those beautiful identities as no one identity can ever really define any of us, so don’t ever refer to me with a racist PC acronym like BIPOC.
I’m Black And I’m Proud.
I’m White And I’m Proud.
I’m American And I’m Proud.
I’m A Man And I’m Proud.
I’m A Teacher And I’m Proud.
I’m A Father And I’m Proud.
I’m A Son And I’m Proud.
I’m A Healer And I’m Proud.
I’m A Loving Human And I’m Proud.
The lessons my father shared with me in those sacred developmental times taught me to be proud of who I am, of where I come from, and to be fearless in shaping the future for new generations.
In these dark covid times where the very few so-called ‘elite’ are attempting to impose their financial will upon the freedom of all, Juneteenth takes on a even greater meaning for me.
This is an excerpt from General Order No. 3 on June 19th, 1865 in Galveston,
Texas by General Granger proclaiming all former slaves newly freedmen and freedwomen.
“The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired laborer.”
How beautiful and simple of a statement is that!
No nuance…no 700 pages of each and every little stipulation…only these people are FREE. PERIOD.
One branch of my family tree traces back to 1812 and a marriage certificate between 2 enslaved ancestors. To two people who had to ask for permission from their so called ‘masters’ to exercise their God-given right to join each other in holy matrimony.
Imagine having to ask someone who claims to own you and your children for the right to wed?
I won’t delve into the horrors of slavery in this essay as this is a day for all to celebrate freedom, but let me be very clear. I am a 6th generation freeman. My son is a 7th generation freeman. And I promise you that his children will be an 8th generation.
Juneteenth is a day that commemorates the first day in our country’s history where WE THE PEOPLE were finally whole.
It doesn’t matter if some people liked it and some didn’t. It doesn’t matter if some people like this becoming a national holiday and some don’t either. The ignorant typically walk their own road to extinction.
Juneteenth is not a day meant to compete with the 4th of July.
Juneteenth is not a day meant only to be celebrated by Black Folks.
It is a day meant for all of us (WE THE PEOPLE) to, in the words of my ancestors, ‘Rejoice In Jubilee’…to
Lift Every Voice And Sing Until Earth And Heaven Ring
Ring With The Harmonies Of Liberty!
Because it took brave women and men, both black and white, rich and poor, chosen and forsaken…it took all people just like us putting aside our petty differences, suspending our asinine judgments, and growing beyond our preconceived ideas of each other in order to come together and fight FOR something . . .
. . .to fight together FOR what is right!
Our ancestors are not gone just because they have left their bodies.
They are all still with us.
They look down upon us now wondering with hope-filled hearts when we are going to rise and embrace the moment at hand.
When are we going to honor them and their sacrifices to do what’s right in the time we live in?
When I read stories like the story of Simone Scott, the 19 year old who was lied to and misled regarding covid and who now is dead…I can only hear the call of my ancestors.
I can only raise my head to the sky as I feel the call to service on the wind that gently envelops my face.
I can only answer this call in the ways of Harriet Tubman, John Brown (one of the most incredible White Men in US History – https://www.history.com/topics/abolitionist-movement/john-brown).
Yes God…I Hear My Ancestor’s Call.
I Will Stand For Freedom For All.
I Will Fight To Protect Our Children.
Aho Mitakuye Oyasin – For All My Relations I Do Make This Sacred Pledge To Fight For Freedom And Ensure Our Darkest Days As A Country Remain Valuable Lessons From Our History…For Our Collective Future.
Dr. Henry L. Ealy III (Dr. H)
Happy Father’s Day To All Of The Dads Out There Teaching Their Children To Live Free & Question So-Called Authority.
Let’s Come Together To Teach Our Children That Life Was Never Meant To Be Lived In Faceless Masked Fear…Life Is Meant To Be Lived As A Dancing, Singing Celebration Of Freedom!