Juneteenth and Sabbath: Freedom Days

Several years ago I discovered that my birthday (June 19th) was connected to a relatively unknown American holiday. Juneteenth is relatively unknown because its origins are regional rather than national. In her recently released book, “On Juneteenth,” historian and author Annette Gordon-Reed provides a historical account of the origins of the Juneteenth holiday. She writes, 


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/11288

Thank you! Freedom has all too often been narrowly interpreted!!

I am still in the state of seeking understanding for the need of another holiday. We already have MLK day, Independence day, Thanksgiving day, and Christmas, all of which seem to reflect remembrance for all of us having freedom and gratefulness. None of them are for only one ethnicity.
I wonder if this was more of a political advantage for federal workers and now they get another paid vacation day. If it was political the government is aware of how some people have a great disliking for Columbus so what they could have done is eliminated Columbus day and saved our tax money or kept people working who are getting paid to work.

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i think juneteenth independence day is one of the many long-overdue contributions of critical race theory that has picked up particular steam in the wake of the BLM marches all over the world in response to the floyd murder…after-all, how many blacks were or could in any way feel free when philadelphia first celebrated july 4 in 1777…in retrospect, it’s quite unbelievable that black people have been expected to think of themselves as free just because white people could…and the worst white america felt from britain before independence was taxes - not quite the same as year after year after year of systematic dehumanization, forced labour, rape and murder, by a long shot…

i think everything about american history is going to need to be re-visited before racism in america can be effectively dealt with…it’s all the buried histories and assumptions, piled up over the yrs, but lying beneath most people’s consciousness radars, that have stood in the way of racial reckoning and any hope of possible healing…i don’t think anyone can be expected to move on until every last bit of it is dregged up and given due recognition…

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I’m with you. Most government employees will like this just because it’s another day off with pay

One consideration from history is that the democrats were the anchor of slavery and the Republicans were the party of breaking the chains of slavery, so in that sense the democrats have now helped us understand the holiday to remember the freedom and deliverance from a party of control and the confederacy so that all people could experience their inalienable rights as humans.

Another thought is that July 4th made Juneteenth possible. As an established country of freedom, America had a growing issue that countered that and it needed to be addressed. The economics of slavery led to a huge question/dilemma of states rights. Civil war was the result.

What I am concerned about is the possibility of the democrats using Juneteenth as a propaganda item to minimize or remove the significance of Independence day because, in a sense, it celebrates the founders of our country. Many Americans have just recently become aware of CRT (Critical Race Theory) being used to brainwash children in our schools into becoming racist, a very backward direction to when systemic racism existed at one time in our country. Knowing this, leads me to wonder along the lines of propaganda in a long ranged agenda.

It is interesting that a Black SDA Author is using the “Black” struggle, to justify other issues, such as immigration issues, and LGBTQ issues, stating that we must fight for “all”.

It is as if mere christians, living out their christian faith are discriminating against LGBTQ persons according to the author of this article.

Yet, does one notice this same type of exploitation of other struggles, for example, the LGBTQ struggle or the Asian Struggle? When the LGBTQ Struggle is mentioned - is it also mentioned that we must fight for all other rights? Or when a bill was passed only for Asians regarding “Asian” hate, even though African Americans have been killed on account of their race for centuries, was the Asian struggle exploited to say that we must fight for “all” and then, used to divert attention away from the unique struggles faced by Asians?

Immigration can involve the issue of lawlessness, if someone is breaking the law to illegally immigrate into the US.

Homosexuality, can, in the ideas of some, involve lawlessness, under certain biblical texts, if certain behaviors are engaged in.

How then in terms of “lawlessness”, is this the same thing as the “black” struggle, when one is discriminated against in the job arena, criminal justice arena, etc. on account of one’s blackness or skin color?

And why is it that the “black” struggle is always used as a mule for other struggles?

Many black people believe that that their own struggles are not adequately being fought for, but that other struggles are being deemed as more important than many bread and butter issues affecting the majority of the people within the black struggle. Yet, the author claims that we need to fight for all.
How can we fight for “all”, if you are using the black struggle as a mule for other struggles and to divert attention away from helping the poor and needy American citizens, suffering on account of race within the black American community? Is not this the spirit of Ezekiel 16:49?

The Democrats are using Juneteenth as a propaganda item, but not for the purpose that you cite. It is interesting that you cite the danger of Juneteenth removing the significance of Independence Day. How so? What is remarkable, is that we only got a holiday for Juneteenth, many years after a holiday for July 4th. Have you ever read Frederick Douglass’s speech -What to the Slave is July 4th which reads: “What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer; a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are, to Him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy — a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of the United States, at this very hour.”
You say that July 4th celebrates the Founders of this country - but some of the founders of this country were slave owners.

In an article about Juneteenth, wherein Juneteenth deals specifically with the freedom of enslaved persons, you also say, " In a world filled with hate and bigotry, where minorities, immigrants, LGBTQ persons, and other marginalized groups are constantly discriminated against in the name of God and in the advancement of Christian beliefs (to include our own Fundamental Beliefs), Adventists must take a decided stand for present truth (denouncing all forms of bigotry), righteousness (reflecting God’s love in all of our social interactions) and justice (advocating for justice for all people)." I would like for you to define “discrimination” when it comes to immigrants, and LGBTQ persons. I don’t doubt that it exists. But are you claiming that any one who is not for open borders, or is concerned about the impact of unfettered illegal immigration on American citizen workers, is discriminating against immigrants? How pastor, can you ignore the impact of illegal immigration, on the job prospects of the poorest American citizen workers, including African American workers? What is your viewpoint about settler colonialism which has been bound up with much of immigration to North America, and the impact of “settler colonialism” on Native Americans and African Americans?
Are you also claiming that anyone who believes in so-called traditional ideas of marriage and gender and in what are now called “clobber” texts, is discriminating against LGBTQ persons? What about religious liberty and freedom or does religious liberty only go one way in favor of one theological interpretation on the issue of homosexuality? Are you saying that discrimination against immigrants is the same necessarily, in all or most circumstances, as discrimination against all African Americans as a class or discrimination against a LGBTQ person who may be privileged on account of his male gender, for example, is the same discrimination that an African American experiences? In terms of illegal immigration, an African American person may take offense to the notion that someone who illegally came to the US is suffering the same type of discrimination that he/she has experienced on account of his/her race and the legacy of slavery. Are you inferring that African Americans are discriminated against necessarily the same as other minorities are? I wonder if some vehicles within the SDA Church have a burden or an agenda more for LGBTQ rights and immigration issues than they do broader issues of economic justice facing the working class or broader African American issues in general. Does Adventist Today and Spectrum Magazine have such a burden for LGBTQ issues, at the expense of economic justice issues facing the working class or civil rights issues of discrimination facing African Americans? How do we know that you are not simply parroting what the Democratic Party agenda is in terms of justice? Your idea of justice sounds an awful lot like the Democratic Party platform and idea of justice. Listen to MSNBC and other news outlets like it -one routinely hears about the “new civil rights movement” that this Pastor is championing. One routinely hears about immigrant issues and LGBTQ rights. One rarely, however, hears about economic issues facing workers, and a whole slew of discrimination issues facing African Americans, unless its a few criminal justice issues, BLM, or voting. Could this be due to the situation described in Ezekiel 16:49, which says, “She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed, and complacent; they did not help the poor and needy.” The Pastor is using the African American struggle to shoehorn in all of these other struggles, when African Americans are already at the bottom of so many scales in this society. Is not this an exploitation of the African American struggle of sorts? How can you address the many issues that African Americans face on account of something that they can’t change and were born with, if you are using their struggle and diverting attention away from their struggle, so that the poor and needy within African American society are not being sufficiently helped and having their concerns addressed and aired?

it’s certainly interesting to trace the transformations in the two major political parties over the yrs…it’s also quite troubling to see what is happening in today’s GOP…for all the socialist excesses of the dems - paid maternity leave, free university, universal healthcare, government-run climate change activism, government-imposed racial equity, government-imposed wealth redistribution, and on
and on - i think the evident alternative reality that so many republicans seem to be running into with open arms is positively dangerous for the entire notion of democracy…

almost no-one active in the party can stand up to trump, who’s a loser by any definition…perhaps indictments and the actual incarceration of trump, his family and his business will open at least some eyes, but maybe not…maybe jail time for trump will only provoke a national reaction that will make
jan 6 look like the peaceful tourist episode so many republicans are saying it was…

i agree that Juneteenth Independence Day would have had less momentum had it not been for the lie that July 4 possibly unwittingly imposed, namely the assumption that black america, chained in slavery, would feel happy and liberated because white america no longer need to pay levies to
king george III…for 88 yrs - essentially at least two entire generations - that lie was perpetuated with scarcely any recognition that there was something incongruous within the spectre of a group of people celebrating freedom while imposing slavery onto others…

and those 88yrs are arguably the most galling period in american history, during which positively
no-one of any stature seems to have recognized that there was something severely rotten going on…that that recognition was missing is possibly only a little less appalling than the fact that slavery was in fact thriving, and that so many were using the economic edge it gave america as a valid reason to perpetuate it…

Much fear do I read in some of the comments made about the article…wonder if it was read for what it simply stated, freedom must be for all. I do believe that was the work of Christ, but humans often want to use Christs message for their own purposes. The parable of the ‘sheep and goats’ has often come to mind over the last many months. The rather unsavory side of politics has come to the forefront as it attempts to keep its agendas front and center by waving the Bible about. Religion has abandoned Christs teachings in order to obtain Government support for the subjection of others, souls and the physical. The Bible is so twisted that one can not recognize it as a history of God ‘freeing’ people over and over down through time. What were His two commands for the human race? Something about treating others…is one of them.

The point is that the July 4th Independence day declared for the first time made it possible to become America which eventually led to the Civil War and now has led to the Juneteenth day. Juneteenth could not exist had it not been for the 4th. It was the issue of slavery and the economics of it that led to the Civil War. Does that clear it up for you? Many of that time period had slaves. They likely so no wrong in it then, but eventually some did and right has prevailed.

When all else fails, bring in politics. Words are thrown about without meaning…throw up against a wall and see what sticks. Some would have us go back in time. Difficult to change, but we can and must, if we want a better future for all of America, regardless of race, creed, sexual orientation, etc. This country was not founded on freedom for all, but great progress has happened and must continue.

This statement is quite preposterous. Absolutely not - duty question. What is in the past is certainly recorded in history books, and it is over. Slavery is done, it is over, and it has been for more than the current generation. Continuing to bring it back from its grave is utter nonsense and a total disrespect for any who have had ancestors serve as slaves. Why wound the current generation? Don’t keep building backward better. Move forward. Count the blessings. Count the moments of freedom.

Juneteenth is a historical reminder that in Texas some people were still not freed from slavery. I am not so sure that making it a federal holiday was not a political maneuver, even if Trump did make it more popular back in 2020. I don’t favor the idea of making it a paid holiday for federal workers simply because we have enough of them already. Understand that this is not minimizing the date, just looking at it as a cost to taxpayers.

Have a happy Independence day! A day for the freedom to have our own country! And I wish you a Happy Sabbath and future Juneteenth’s.

as you may know, not all is in the history books…events like the Tulsa Race Massacre is news to many people because it’s been intentionally left out of the history books…and what else has been left out of the history books…for instance, what do we really know about the slave trade - of sea voyages of thousands of miles under squalid conditions - from the perspective of those who were forced to endure it…for that matter, what do we know about slavery, from the perspective of slaves…what do we know about the experience of newly freed slaves and their struggle to assimilate into society, from their perspective…BLM tried to tell us aspects of these, and other american stories, over this past year…but who really listened…probably the 81.2 million people who voted for biden…probably not the 74.2 million people who voted for trump…

nor is the legacy of slavery by any means over…my expectation is that we’re in for a steady drip drip of revelations the more the results of slavery are objectively looked at, which many, many people are doing, not to worry…your blithe attempts to minimize Juneteenth and what it represents notwithstanding, serious people who have looked at the effects of slavery have raised the spectre of reparations, among other possibilities, as a viable and at least partial solution to the fact that black generational wealth has been stymied by the systemic racism stemming from slavery that continues to plague society today…some estimates of the magnitude of meaningful reparations exceed the annual gross domestic product of america by a factor of several times…

presumably you’ll have a problem with taxpayers footing this bill when and if it materializes, which isn’t completely out of the realm of possibility…but your particular problem isn’t going to matter if it does…whatever form it takes, national redress for american slavery is going to have to be deliberate and thorough if healing is ever going to occur…the enormity of the wrong of slavery is far too great to sweep under a rug…from that first arrival of would-be slaves at Virginia’s Point Comfort, now Fort Monroe in Hampton, in 1619 to the first Juneteenth in 1866, america’s astounding cruelty and evil carried out over 247 yrs isn’t going to be set aside by any thinking person through vaporous platitudes like happy Independence Day, or happy Sabbath…

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Your responses remind me of a Randy Travis song, “Digging Up Bones”, albeit the song is about a man/woman relationship, but the title has various applications.

and your responses remind me of the text in Jeremiah:

“They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of My people slightingly, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace.” Jer 6:14 (also Jer 8:11).

of course this text is part of a description of people who are past feeling any remorse for wrongs they or others around them have done…they are wholly given to constantly spewing out a life that isn’t taking into account any of god’s claims…and all shortly before the horrors of babylon…in other words, they are completely oblivious to the dimensions of the reality building all around them…

i don’t doubt that the history of slavery in america is nothing more than a song to you…but sensitive, thoughtful people see things differently…canada is now starting to experience an awakening of atrocities committed in its history that the vast majority of canadians have scarcely suspected, namely the mass unmarked graves showing up in areas that were once residential schools for native children, run by the catholic church and the government…and there are people here who are also saying to let bygones be bygones…but the reality is that the blood of abel crieth from the ground: the memory of gross injustice and cruelty doesn’t just flit away because we want to feel positive about our time, and ourselves…

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