Juneteenth: a belated celebration

The eve of their freedom resembled the normalcy of burden that their lives had become accustomed to bearing. The blue sky of Texas mirrored the mood of their wearied souls, so they sang the blues to ease the throes of living life as chattels, milked of their humanity like cattle. The Texas heat was unfriendly to their underfed bodies, but the sun was kind enough to wipe the sweat from their brows, for it was the preferred handkerchief to the paltry rags which they wore. The eve of their freedom was like any other day, in which they coped with the drudgery of the field by day while awaited the sun to wave goodbye, to take refuge in the night and make hopeful wishes to its starry Sky. Though gazing at the same distant stars as those who were free, their hearts differed in wishes. They fall asleep in the huts of desolation while dreaming of freedom which seemed to be millions of light-years away like the distant stars on which they stared. But dawn knocked at the door of their darkness introducing to them the reality of their long dreamt dream.

The echoes of celebrations from former slaves that were freed two months and ten days earlier awoke the enslaved of Galveston, Texas from their nightmares. On June nineteen, 1865, the enslaved people of Galveston, Texas were the last slaves to hear of and celebrated their freedom. For the first time in their lives, freedom awoke them from their sleep instead of profit. Tears of joy river their cheeks as they tasted the forbidden fruit of freedom that the law of the land had long forbidden them to taste. But once freedom was tasted, its sweetness turned into bitter memories for loved ones who were auctioned away from their lives, this shattered their hearts in every direction as they trekked in an unknown land. Yet they walked in faith, hoping that their feet were moving toward the reunion of lost love. Unprotected by the law and surrounded by bad intentions, they walked through the lone star state with their feet as their only compass in an alien world. Unlike the children of Israel, their first steps in freedom were not directed toward a promised land, but rather into an alien world where money has no compassion for the penniless, jobless, and homeless man. Some looked back over their shoulders and returned to the only world they had known, not out of love for the plantations but as a way to survive as sharecroppers in an unjust economic world. Others forged forward by facing their fears and withstanding the blows of injustices to start life anew.

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