19 Jun 2013 Black Conservatives Commemorate Juneteenth Emancipation Anniversary
Washington, D.C. – On the 147th commemoration of “Juneteenth” â€” the oldest and most-recognized observance of the end of slavery in the United States â€” members of the Project 21 black leadership network are focused on the theme of freedom. In a time of major growth in the size and power of government, Project 21 members are calling upon Americans to use this civil rights-themed holiday to further appreciate the importance of constitutionally-mandated liberties and the threat posed to them by intrusive government overreach.
“I proudly celebrate this historic occasion,” said Project 21 member Stacy Swimp. “Juneteenth is a commemoration of American freedom â€” freedom that we all must hold dear. For an injustice against any American is indeed an injustice against every American.”
“Juneteenth represents black American freedom from physical slavery,” said Project 21 member Darryn “Dutch” Martin. “It is my hope that, as we progress through the 21st century, more blacks can begin to emancipate themselves from the mental and intellectual and political slavery of liberal, big-government identity politics that so many black abide by.”
Juneteenth commemorates the anniversary of the arrival of Union troops in Galveston, Texas on June 19, 1865. Those soldiers carried with them the news that the Civil War was over and that President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation abolished slavery two-and-a-half years earlier.
Galveston’s former slave population celebrated their newfound freedom on the anniversary of this day in an event that became known as Juneteenth. The commemoration quickly became a stabilizing as well as a motivating presence among black Texans who experiencing new uncertainties associated with their freedom and their integration into American society. The observance of Juneteenth and the event’s emphasis on self-improvement and advancement soon spread from Texas to be recognized in communities across the United States.
Project 21’s Swimp added: “Juneteenth commemorates American freedom and, therefore, naturally promotes education and achievement rather than merely reflecting upon the past reality of chattel slavery. Juneteenth should be a time to bring together people of all cultural groups for reflection and rejoicing. It is a time for assessment, self-improvement and for planning the future.”
While Juneteenth as celebrated can often be quite a festive event, education and self-improvement remain consistent themes at commemorative community gatherings and picnics. In 1980, Juneteenth was made an official holiday in Texas. Currently, according to the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation, 40 states recognize Juneteenth as a state holiday or observance of some sort.
“In recognition of the importance of freedom for all Americans, we have a fundamental responsibility to learn the valuable lessons of history so that we might continue to understand where, how, when and why we must continue to struggle for freedom and advancement for all Americans today,” said Project 21’s Swimp. “I remain resolutely committed to upholding and defending the hope and safety of not only Americans of African descent, but for all who entrust us to uphold their God-given rights to justice and liberty.”
Swimp, who also serves as the president of the Michigan-based Frederick Douglass Society, organized many Juneteenth-related events in the Detroit metropolitan area this weekend that also include the Reverend C.L. Bryant. Next week, he will discuss the underpinnings of Juneteenth at a meeting of the Ottawa County Patriots in Zeeland, Michigan.
Project 21, a leading voice of black conservatives for nearly two decades, is sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research (http://www.nationalcenter.org).
Contributions to the National Center are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated .