By Dr. Michael Eaton
I was greatly encouraged when I saw the news conference of Dr. Al Gourrier reported on Friday, June 4, 2021. Dr. Gourrier is the chairman of Juneteenth Nevada. He and the Juneteenth nationwide chapters have a goal of making Juneteenth a national holiday. Dr. Gourrier reports that last year a bill to make Juneteenth a national holiday was one vote short of passing in the U.S. Congress. Some of you make be wondering, “What is Juneteenth?” Union General Gordon Granger brings the news to Galveston Texas on June 19, 1865. Three years after the Emancipation Proclamation of Abraham Lincoln on September 22, 1862 slaves in Galveston Texas learn that they were free. Lincoln often painted as the black man savior in U. S. History was only trying to save the Union. It is well documented that if Lincoln had his way the black folk that he had just freed would have been colonized in the jungles of Central America. For President Lincoln like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, James K. Polk, Zachary Taylor, and Andrew Johnson black lives did not really matter. The first 12 President of the United State of America owned slaves. Ulysses S Grant created the Justice Department to protect black folk doing reconstruction and was known to have one slave. He was given William Jones and later would set him free. He was a gift from his father-in-law. Hence it is documented that twelve of our Presidents some being founding fathers of our nation had slaves. How then can a people who were marginalized and traumatize truly celebrate America’s Declaration of Independence when in America blacks were slaves. The people signing the greatest document in democracies history many own slaves. So, do I have to wave my flag on the 4th of July as a black man in America today? Or should I wave my flag on June 19th when the people in my home state of Texas found out they were free?
Black folk for many years has had to deal with this dual citizenship. We have been dual citizen for centuries starting with Crispus Attucks doing the Revolutionary War. The first man to die for freedom in America was a black man! Black lives have died in every major and minor war for the United States of America before the beginning until now. While at the same time having to deal with slavery, the Ku Klux Klan, Jim Crow, the Civil Rights Movement, Racial Profiling, Black Lives Matter Movement, and voter suppression. It took a worldwide pandemic to slow down a nation as we lose George Floyd in the streets of Minneapolis. America came together as one to truly reckon with the value of black life. Let us put some icing on this cake of freedom and make June 19th a national federal holiday! My home state of Texas was the first state to recognize this as a holiday! 47 individual states have also already recognized this as a holiday. Only South Dakota, North Dakota, and Hawaii have not recognized this holiday as a state. We do not have that far to go to make this holiday! Juneteenth matters because black lives matter!
Rev. Dr. Michael Eaton
Rev. Dr. Michael Eaton is the proud Pastor of the Bethlehem Baptist Church in Pauls Valley, Oklahoma. Dr. Eaton is a Adult Curriculum Writer for the Sunday School Publishing Board of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Incorporated. (The National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. is a convention of primarily African-American Baptists. NBC USA, Inc has a membership of 8.4 million and 21,145 congregations.) He also contributed to the National Baptist Convention, USA, Incorporated, The Christian Education Informer, a journal of Christian Education.
Pastor Michael Eaton is the author of several books (www.amazon.com/author/RevDrMichaelEaton). His latest book was published in February 2021 is entitled, “Bible Lives Matter in the Bible.”
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