30 Jun 2020 Erasing “Bad” History Means You’re Bound to Repeat It
Members of the National Center’s Project 21 black leadership network have observed Juneteeth for over 20 years.
In a panel discussion on the Newsmax television network, Project 21 member Marie Fischer noted that the timing of the protests following the death of George Floyd has “call[ed] more attention to the Juneteenth celebration” among the rest of America. And that’s a good thing, she pointed out, since too many people “have never heard about this celebration until this year.”
As a result of Project 21 and the protests “bringing it to the forefront,” there are now proposals to make Juneteeth a national holiday. As for how to treat the day, Marie said that this observance of the end of slavery in the United States should be allowed to have the same effect today as it did during its founding during the Reconstruction era:
Juneteenth – that marked the day that they announced in Galveston [Texas] that the Civil War was ended and that the slaves were free. So I look at it as a day when they should have started healing in the United States from the Civil War.
I think we should mark it the same way.
With all the racial tension, we need to start healing – starting today… That’s the only way we’re going to be the United States of America, once we heal.
Asked about the radical activists who are targeting statues and other representations of historical figures who do not live up to modern expectations, Marie said she opposed efforts to wipe America’s collective memory of these people: “I don’t agree with [any] of it.” She warned:
Because, when you’re erasing it, you’re erasing history. And history is good, bad, ugly, pretty.
But it’s there for us to learn from it. And if you start erasing all this, then we’re bound to repeat a lot of this.
From what the activists claim, they don’t want to go back. Yet their radical tactics, according to Marie, line themselves up for exactly that. That’s why Juneteenth can be an invaluable tool.