Dear Children’s School Families,
By coincidence, our school carnival happens to fall on the same date as the 150 anniversary of a little known celebration called Juneteenth. Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. Being that The Children’s School is committed to honoring diversity and cultural awareness, especially of the unheard voices in society, we want to take this opportunity and recognize Juneteenth at this year’s carnival. Juneteenth aims to increase knowledge and appreciation of the roles, achievements and contributions of African Americans to our society, and pay tribute to an ancestral heritage upon whose shoulders many stand.
Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. Note that this was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation – which had become official January 1, 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on the Texans due to the minimal number of Union troops to enforce the new Executive Order. However, with the surrender of General Lee in April of 1865, and the arrival of General Granger’s regiment, the forces were finally strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance.
National Registry of Juneteenth Organizers and Supporters
It is traditional in communities of The African Diaspora and to look back at the past and to honor and remember the sacrifices of the people, the generations upon whose shoulders we stand and the blood shed and lives lost during slavery.
This Juneteenth, we invite everyone to wear red, one of the symbols of the celebration. Also, please notice the Adinkra symbol Sankofa from Ghana, which means reach back and get it or return and get it. The belief associated with the Sankofa symbol is that it is not wrong to go back for that which you have forgotten. Thus, the importance of learning from the past so that we do not forget the struggles and lives lost before slavery was outlawed. Something we all need to remember.
Here is the Sankofa symbol:
Also, it is tradition in some places to read The Emancipation Proclamation, Ralph Ellison’s work and Maya Angelou’s work. This excerpt from Dr. Maya Angelou’s poem, “Still I Rise” which will also be posted at the carnival.
Still I Rise by Dr. Maya Angelou
“…Out of the huts of history’s shame
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
P.S. 372 Undoing Racism Committee