SUMMARY: With Juneteenth becoming a national holiday in 2021 author Jemar Tisby suggests that white people should lean towards commemorating the holiday instead of a full on celebration as a celebration could erase the “suffering and brutality of slavery.” Tisby provides several suggestions, including education and supporting Black churches and organizations, on how to commemorate the holiday.
KEY QUOTE: “Maybe ‘commemoration’ is a better word than ‘celebration’ for white people to use when it comes to Juneteenth. They should certainly commemorate it, pause to acknowledge the historical importance of the day, but a pure celebration seems presumptuous.”
More curated resources on Juneteenth:
What is Juneteenth? Why do we celebrate it? How should we celebrate it? After reading the following articles, listening to the podcast, and watching the show you should have a decent understanding of what the holiday is and why we celebrate it.
In a previously curated article Jemar Tisby aptly recommends that white and Black Americans should commemorate Juneteenth differently. One of the ways non-Black Americans can commemorate the holiday is to learn about the history of Black people in America. On Juneteenth consists of a collection of six engrossing essays interlacing author Annette Gordon-Reed’s memories from growing up in Jim Crow Conroe, TX as the first Black student in her elementary school with the complexities of American history, specifically Texan history, replete with its myths, legends, and truths.
U.S. history professor at Bethel University John H. Haas suggests that Juneteenth is a time for Americans to reflect on how “how hard America has found it to live up to its own ideals” while pondering why America is the only nation that required a war, the bloodiest war in its history, to repeal slavery.