Juneteenth

The ruins of the former state capitol in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, stop number one on the city’s Civil Rights History Trail. It is a fitting memorial to the past, not a celebration, but a reminder, an appropriately somber and grim one, preserved in a pastoral park that invites people to participate. The park is peaceful, especially in the early morning, with lots of open grass, surrounded by trails and giant magnolias. On this morning, all was empty. The ruins, quiet like the park. Quiet, but not mute.

Today is a day to celebrate the struggle for freedom and equality in America. By its very nature, Juneteenth commemorates the depth and endurance of this struggle. It took two and a half more years of bloody civil war for the words of Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation to be implemented in all of Texas and begin the long process of taking root and struggling to flourish. Juneteenth is also a day to remember why we celebrate, know that like our nation this struggle will always be a work in progress, and resolve for better.

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