Juneteenth and Dr. King

by Denisiab

In Texas, I was raised
and warmed by the sun's rays.
There, I learned of Dr. King
and about a day called Juneteenth.
I remember my history teacher
would grin and snicker
as my voice shook, body trembled
while I read about slavery's venom.
But I read with pride and volume
of the things Dr. King had done.
I don't remember reading a thing
about a day called Juneteenth.
I remember celebrations and cookouts.
Bringing plates back to the house
for my Moma to relax and eat.
Yes, my family taught me about Juneteenth.
Just like my ancestors learned
of their freedom long after it was earned,
my knowledge of this date
would have continued to escape
me if not for my family.
Now, I must say, my black history
knowledge was only limited
to Juneteenth and Dr. King's life and death.
I was in my 20s before
I learned that everyone didn't know
about Juneteenth.  I also found
that many African-Americans don't assemble around
loved ones to, a day of freedom, recognize
other than the 4th of July.
But we were still slaves
on July 4th, 1776 and we celebrate.
Anyway, that's another show,
as they say.  Now, for four or more
years, I've lived in a town
where four brothers sat down
at the Woolworth's lunch counter.
Festivals, African-American Art and Kwanzaa
help me teach my daughter and, yes,
has increased my historical knowledge
of my people and yet
I feel an expansion in my chest
when I think back to the days
and the pride and happiness displayed
by everyone around me on Grandmoma's porch
and those running in and out of her front door.
Back when all I knew about was Dr. King
and a day called Juneteenth.

Juneteenth and Dr. King by Denisiab

© Copyright 1999. All rights reserved. No portion of this work may be duplicated or copied without the expressed written consent of the author.

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