JUNETEENTH: Sacrifices, Struggles Seem Meaningless Today #Juneteenth #TellUsDetroit

Op-Ed by Edward Foxworth III/Tell Us USA News Network

It was Dr. Carter G. Woodson who wrote: “When you control a man’s thinking you do not have to worry about his actions. You do not have to tell him not to stand here or go yonder. He will find his “proper place” and will stay in it. You do not need to send him to the back door. He will go without being told. In fact, if there is no back door, he will cut one for his special benefit. His education makes it necessary.”

June 19th, 1865, is considered the date when the last slaves in America were freed. Although the rumors of freedom were widespread before this, actual emancipation did not come until General Gordon Granger rode into Galveston, Texas and issued General Order No. 3, on June 19th, almost two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. Juneteenth has come to symbolize for many African-Americans what the fourth of July symbolizes for all Americans — Freedom.

It serves as a historical milestone reminding Americans of the triumph of the human spirit over the cruelty of slavery, while honoring those African-American ancestors who survived the inhumane institution of bondage.

Bondage. Though there are thousands of success stories to be told, how much progress has been made in homes and communities since 1865? What measurement is most appropriate to use? Career success, Education and Literacy, Financial Wealth, the Family Unit or maybe degrees of Self-sufficiency?

African-Americans still fight for equality on so many fronts.

Sacrifices made by those who lived through slavery and the extremely tough period immediately following that time, has not gone unrespected. By several barometers however; the lack of emotional intelligence, out-of-control crime rates, percentage of homelessness, number of dilapidated communities, the dismal dropout rate along with the number of seemingly unmotivated individuals in Black America shows an under appreciation for those who fought and died to make “Freedom” a reality?

If Juneteenth is to African-Americans what Independence Day is to everyone else, what is a suitable way to commemorate this date?

Culturally speaking, racism in its silky smooth way has permeated every institution of society and continues to have a small number of African-Americans to carry the weight for the entire race. Those who have attained some degree of success have become responsible for representing everything that former slaves have hoped for and the exception to those who have not been able to pull it together.

Economically speaking, while African-Americans are said to control an economic buying power of more than $1.1 Trillion, according to an Assets and Social Policy at Brandeis University study, among other studies, a conclusion is; “the wealth gap between white and African American families has more than quadrupled over the course of a generation; the racial wealth gap increased by $75,000, from $20,000 to $95,000; and, at least 25 percent of African Americans have no assets.” According to U.S. Census data, “white household median net worth is 10 times that of Black households.

The median net worth for African Americans was $11,800 compared to $118,000 for whites.”

Centered around the question of worthiness, how free is freedom and what must African-Americans accomplish in the 21st century, in order to make Juneteenth a traumatic and historical time in America worth dying for?

Edward Foxworth is the host of American Entrepreneur, author of the soon-to-be-released “Recapture Your Passion System” and is available for speaking engagements. For more information visit http://www.edwardfoxworth.com.

 

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