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Juneteenth Makes Me Think

I put out our American flag again today, as I like to do most Sundays, but with a special feeling of obligation, since today is Juneteenth. It's a holiday rich in meaning, and makes me think.

Today it's making me think about delay. Juneteenth after all occurred two and a half years late. The enslaved people in Texas learned of their freedom that long after it was granted them in the Emancipation Proclamation.

And I'm thinking about the delay in my own life of awareness. I didn't know about Juneteenth, which happened 157 years ago, until I was in my 70's. Worse still, I'd never known about Tulsa till then either, or the red summer of 1919 or the many others. I'm a pretty smart guy who went to school for many years. How could this history have been kept from me?

Now there is a strong movement to continue to suppress awareness of these events, crucial to our understanding of America, of who we are, and who we want to be. I can't think of any reason for wanting to pretend that White supremacy never existed other than that some people want to perpetuate it. To keep this history out of our schools is to say we want our kids to be ignorant and unable to understand the challenges our country faces today.

I wasn't totally unaware as a kid, however. In the 50's we could get good music late at night from an obscure radio station broadcasting from Galatin near Nashville, Tennessee. We teenagers knew that the music of B.B. King and the Moonglows was a lot better than Pat Boone and the McGuire Sisters who covered (read "stole") it.


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