The big news this week is that President Biden established Juneteenth as a federal holiday, the eleventh federal holiday in our calendar. Until recently, Juneteenth was a Texas regional holiday because it commemorates the post Civil War announcement of the abolition of slavery to enslaved persons in Galveston. I learned about it from a friend and former coworker who is a blerd from East Texas... she is a huge history buff, and grew up celebrating Juneteenth with her family. For a one-and-a-half minute explainer of Juneteenth and a 'Schoolhouse Rock' parody, this video by Shah Wonders and the Roots can't be beat:
Of course, there is outrage (albeit incoherent) on the Right about this elevation of Juneteenth to federal holiday status, even members of the Blacks Against African-Americans contingent have weighed in. Personally, I don't get the outrage, I mean, it IS a new holiday in a month generally characterized by nice weather... it's almost as if their racism trumps any natural inclination to want more paid time off. Maybe the best way to shut these people up is to point out to them that the celebration is not just a commemoration of the liberation of slaves, but a celebration of a US military victory over a hostile, traitorous foreign power. Ah, who am I kidding? These people are more racist than they are patriotic, and pine for the Confederacy. Anyway, let them whine. Maybe they can console themselves when the holiday inevitably becomes characterized by white sales.
On a happy note, I have been discussing celebratory menus for this new federal holiday. Of course, family favorites should be at the center of any celebration, but a nod to African-American foodways of Texas would be a nice place to start. On matters of historical American cuisine, with a focus on the foods of the African Diaspora, I can find no better authority than chef and historian Michael W. Twitty. If anybody is going to inspire you to create a 'curated' Juneteenth menu, he is. Freedom is delicious!