Juneteenth :: An American Celebration

Juneteenth :: An American Celebration

July 4, 1776 is a date we all know and celebrate as Independence Day. That day our country became and the proverbial noose released from the mother country. Unfortunately, independence did not extend to our newly born country’s inhabitants.

For Americans of African descent, Juneteenth (June 19, 1865) commemorates a historical change for us. Almost two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed, we found out we were given our freedom. For the first time in our country’s history, we were given an opportunity to decide. Although there were still other legislated / practical barriers, we could finally pursue the American dream.

Of all the ethnic groups, Black Americans are the only culture fully cultivated in the United States. Remember, we were maimed to forget. Chattel to the wealthy, stripped of our ability to be. We lost language. We lost ancestry. We lost lives. All we’ll ever be is American.

As a Nigerian-American, my mother is ”black” and my father is Nigerian, it’s important to point out how important ancestral culture and knowledge are. My father is Igbo. My father is from the village of Isuikwuatuo in Abia State. I could go on …

On the other side, my mother is “black.” Our family’s surname is Baxter. Our family settled in Sorrento, LA. I am in the process of discovering my grandmother’s family, the Streets of South Carolina, knowing all I’ll find is how deep our American roots are.

For the only culture / ethnic group wholly created and cultivated on American soil, Juneteenth is the day we began to trudge towards legitimacy and equitability. Africans were brought to the Americas for one reason. Despite that reason, we’ve accomplished far more than anyone could have imagined.

On this day we celebrate abolitionists, martyrs, our ancestors, and most importantly being American. We celebrate us.

Americans of African descent, and our allies, have been pivotal in the liberation of peoples all around the world. I think that’s an American legacy we all should be proud to celebrate.

About Desmond Dunn

Desmond Dunn is husband to Tiffany Dunn and dad to two great kids: Micah (17) and Keilyn (11). He received his Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology from Southeastern University. Desmond is a private sports coach and teacher. Desmond is currently in remission from a recent fight with Hodgkins Lymphoma. Anytime Desmond is not working or coaching, you can find him cheering his son on at a track meet, taking his daughter on a movie date or making the best homemade coffee for his wife.


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