So this particular day, the 19 of June, is Juneteenth; and thus, a reading the words of the Emancipation Proclamation.
MICHEL MARTIN: By the president of the United States of America, a proclamation, whereas on the 22 day of September in the Year of Our Lord 1862, a proclamation was issued by the president of the United States, containing, among other things, the following – to wit…
NOEL KING: That on the first day of January in the year of our Lord 1863, all persons held as slaves within any state or designated part of a state, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thence forward and forever free.
SAM SANDERS: And the executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons and will do no act or acts to repress such persons or any of them and any efforts they make for their actual freedom.
RODNEY CARMICHAEL: That the executive will, on the first day of January aforesaid, by proclamation designate the states and parts of states, if any, in which the people thereof respectively shall then be in rebellion against the United States.
JUANA SUMMERS: And the fact that any state or the people thereof shall on that day be, in good faith, represented in the Congress of the United States by members chosen thereto at elections wherein a majority of the qualified voters of such state shall have participated shall, in the absence of strong countervailing testimony, be deemed conclusive evidence that such state and the people thereof are not, then, in rebellion against the United States.
DWANE BROWN: Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, president of the United States, by virtue of the power vested as commander in chief, of the Army and Navy of the United States in time of actual armed rebellion against the authority and government of the United States and as a fit and necessary war measure for suppressing said rebellion…
AUDIE CORNISH: …Due on this first day of January in the year of our Lord 1863 and in accordance with my purpose so to do publicly proclaimed for the full period of 100 days from the day first above mentioned, order and designate as the states and parts of states wherein the people thereof respectively are this day in rebellion against the United States the following, to wit…
TONYA MOSLEY: Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana – except for the parishes of St. Bernard, Plaquemines, Jefferson, St. John, St. Charles, St. James Ascension, Assumption, Terrebonne, Lafourche, St. Mary, St. Martin and Orleans, including the city of New Orleans – Mississippi, Alabama…
BRAKKTON BOOKER: …Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia – except the 48 counties designated as West Virginia and also the counties of Berkley, Accomack, Northampton, Elizabeth City, York, Princess Ann and Norfolk, including the cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth – and which excepted parts are, for the present, left precisely as if this proclamation were not issued.
KORVA COLEMAN: And by virtue of the power and for the purpose aforesaid, I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated states and parts of states are and henceforward shall be free.
GENE DEMBY: And that the executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authorities thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons.
CHERYL CORLEY: And I hereby enjoin upon the people so declared to be free to abstain from all violence, unless in necessary self-defense, and I recommend to them that in all cases when allowed, they labor faithfully for reasonable wages.
ERIC DEGGANS: And I further declare and make known that such persons of suitable condition will be received into the armed service of the United States to garrison forts, positions, stations and other places and to man vessels of all sorts in said service.
AYESHA RASCOE: And upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice, warranted by the Constitution, upon military necessity, I invoke the considerate judgment of mankind and the gracious favor of Almighty God.
WALTER RAY WATSON: In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be fixed. Done at the city of Washington, this first day of January in the year of our Lord 1863 and of the independence of the United States of America the 87th.
By the president, Abraham Lincoln.
The reading of the Emancipation Proclamation to commemorate Juneteenth today, also known as Emancipation Day or Black Independence Day.
“FREE AT LAST”, Oh, I’m free at last, free at last.
To listen to the reading — well worth it — check it out via the following link.
Sharing some thoughts from an old high school classmate. His name is Eric Curtis.
Another classmate pointed me to a few recent posts Eric made on social media in response to the recent protests over police murders of unarmed African-Americans, and against underlying racism that still persists in the United States. When I read Eric’s words, I thought two things immediately:
1/ I agree with him.
2/ I can’t put words together any better than he does on the subject of a white person’s evolving perspective on racism.
And so, here’s what he wrote:
“I get it.
I use to say that I wasn’t racist, because I did my best to not allow race to influence my thoughts about another person.
I became comfortable with the level of racism around me because it didn’t directly affect me or my family.
In my community, racism wasn’t particularly violent, although I was often aware that I was less likely to be harassed than people who look different than I do. I had an unspoken agreement with racism – “If you don’t mess with me, I won’t mess with you.”
My sheltered life allowed me to pretend that racism was getting better throughout the country.
All it took was Trump’s campaign in 2016 to help the people who embrace racism to begin to feel more comfortable and their racism approved. Somehow, these last 4 years, although agitated with renewed flourishing of racism throughout the country, I didn’t have the bandwidth to turn toward a positive impact in relationship with racism.
The blatant public execution of an innocent man pushed me and apparently hundreds of thousands of others to the point of critical mass. Although racism still has little direct affect on my life, I can no longer pretend to “not be racist”. I had to choose to be anti racist.
So I get it. Millions of people can say “I’m not racist.”, and be comfortable enough with that.
But to pretend that our country isn’t being overcome by racism, led by Trump’s empowerment lead active racists out of their dark holes, is to choose to close one’s eyes to reality. That has always been an indirect support of racism.
I have been that passive racist.”
Me too. My old high school friend Eric speaks humbly and powerfully from our shared, white perspective. This perspective is valuable to a degree, since we white people have the power.
I’ve heard people of color (and otherwise) say now, “If you’re not anti-racist, then you’re part of the problem.”
I agree with that.
I’ve also heard it said that we white people need to amplify the expert voices of people of color that have suffered so long under racism.
I agree with that too.
Thank you, Eric, for sharing your perspective. Much respect and gratitude to you, my friend.
And stay tuned for more posts / insights from people of color, the true experts on how we can dismantle racism in these United States.
If you want to check out more of Eric’s writing, see his blog:
Sitting on my son’s bed, listening to the sounds. In the dim light, thinking.
He asked me to sit with him as he fell asleep. Quickly so. His sisters already softly snoring in slumber.
Later than I’d like but then, a few moments to write, to capture the night. Grateful for that, for their slumber, for my family, my sometimes enemies in my darkest moments. And then I catch, I remember, this is my purpose, these are my people, I love them!
Yes. Yes I do. Sitting on the bed, in the dark, even in the dark, I love them. Let my actions speak those words. Every day.