re: Celebrating Juneteenth VIEW POST


My preferred way to celebrate Juneteenth is to read some of the narratives of former slaves. The US government collected thousands of them. Enslaved people were people, and the best way to understand their humanity is to read their life stories in their own words.

In this one, a former slave recounts being informed of his freedom. It's also a great example of the immediate success of lies behind the former Confederacy's Lost Cause myth.
Lots of old people lake me say dat dey was happy in slavery, and dat dey had de worst tribulations after freedom, but I knows dey didn't have no white master and overseer lak we all had on our place. Dey both dead now I reckon, and dey no use talking 'bout de dead, but I know I been gone long ago iffen dat white man Saunder didn't lose his hold on me. It was de fourth day of June in 1865 I begins to live, and gwine take de picture of dat old man in de big black hat and long whiskers, setting on de gallery and talking kind to us, clean into my grave wid me. No, bess God, I ain't never seen no more black boys bleeding all up and down de back under a cat o' nine tails, and I never go by no cabin and hear no poor nigger groaning, all wrapped up in a lardy sheet no more! I hear my chillun read about General Lee, and I know he was a good man. I didn't know nothing about him den, but I know now he wasn't fighting for dat kind of white folks. Maybe dey dat kind sill yet, but dey don't show it up no more, and I got lots of white friends too. All my chillun and grandchillun been to school, and dey git along good, and I know we living in a better world, what dey ain't nobody "cussing fire to my black heart!" I sho' thank de good Lawd I got to see it.

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