Category Archives: Race

University of Wisconsin adopts racial/sexual “diversity” in grading students

W. Lee Hansen, a professor emeritus of economics at UW-Madison, wrote the following op-ed piece for the John William Hope Pope Center for Higher Education, a North Carolina-based think tank, about the latest “diversity” plan for the UW-System’s flagship school.

Madness in Madison

Professor W. Lee HansenThe University of Wisconsin’s latest diversity plan calls for “equity” in high-demand majors and the distribution of grades.

By W. Lee Hansen

July 16, 2014

Many American colleges and universities are in the thrall of “diversity,” but none more so than my institution, the University of Wisconsin. This spring, the university adopted a new plan that, according to Board of Regents policy, “[p]laces the mission of diversity at the center of institutional life so that it becomes a core organizing principle.

That is, promoting diversity appears to be more important than teaching students. 

This Framework for Diversity and Inclusive Excellence sailed through our Faculty Senate without the least bit of attention, much less the “sifting and winnowing” on which it prides itself.

Although much of the language is a thicket of clichés, no one dared challenge it. Moreover, there was no probing of the ramifications of the plan. Apparently, “diversity” has become such a sacred cow that even tenured professors are afraid to question it in any way.  

To begin, the university’s justification for the new policy is difficult to understand: “Our commitment is to create an environment that engages the whole person in the service of learning, recognizing that individual differences should be considered foundational to our strength as a community.”

That language is mere education babble, but the Faculty Senate swallowed it whole. So did the academic staff and the students.

The plan’s definition of diversity focuses on a wide array of differences that can be found in every enrolled student. Here’s what it includes:

Individual differences in personality, learning styles, and life experiences, and group or social differences that may manifest through personality, learning styles, life experiences, and group or social differences. Our definition of diversity also incorporates differences of race and ethnicity; sex; gender; and gender identity or expression; sexual orientation; age; country of origin; language; physical and intellectual ability; emotional health; socio-economic status; and affiliations that are based on cultural, political, religious, or other identities.

[Question from Eowyn: Does "diversity in intellectual ability" means certified morons and idiots, since they are under-represented in America's colleges and universities, should get an "A" or minimally a "P" (passing) grade?]

The list is so expansive that it leads one to conclude that every student is “diverse.” And I believe that is correct. Every student is different in so many ways that it makes no sense to say that some students “increase diversity” while others don’t.

The new plan provides no information on how the addition of these “individual and group/social differences” can create an environment that “engages the whole person,” whatever that means. Based on my experience, I would have no idea how to incorporate these “differences” into my economics teaching.

I wish someone had asked what bearing these particular “individual and group or social differences” have on student learning. Most people believe that individual differences in intelligence, aptitude, motivation, commitment, high school class rank, ACT/SAT scores, and academic preparation are far more important in contributing to student learning.

Those latter differences, what most people view as indicators of academic excellence, indeed are appropriate considerations at an institution priding itself as being a world-class teaching and research university.

How will the university assemble information on these supposedly crucial “differences”? Most applicants will not be able to describe their “learning styles,” or how to characterize their “personalities,” or how to assess their “emotional health.” Moreover, many students would hesitate to disclose personal information about their “cultural, political, religious, or other identities.” Without that information, it won’t be possible to use them “in the service of learning,” assuming that this notion is something other than empty rhetoric.

To achieve the plan’s vague aims, the Ad Hoc Diversity Planning Committee formulated five goals and thirty detailed recommendations. Unbeknownst to faculty senators, these goals and recommendations are based on the “Inclusive Excellence” framework adopted earlier by the Board of Regents. (See Agenda Item II.6 for the March 5, 2009, meeting of the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents; in the PDF file: Madness in Madison)

That framework includes eight essential “working definitions,” among them the already-discussed diversity, as well as others: “compositional diversity,” “critical mass,” “inclusion,” “equity mindedness,” “deficit-mindedness,” “representational equity,” and “excellence.”

Let us take a closer look at one of these working definitions included, namely “representational equity.”

It calls for “proportional participation of historically underrepresented racial-ethnic groups at all levels of an institution, including high status special programs, high-demand majors, and in the distribution of grades.” 

We are not told exactly what adherence to this will entail. It appears to mean that directors of programs and departmental chairs will have to somehow ensure that they have a mix of students with just the right percentages of individuals who embody the various “differences” included in the definition of diversity. I cannot see how that is possible and even if it were, how it improves any student’s education.

Suppose there were a surge of interest in a high demand field such as computer science. Under the “equity” policy, it seems that some of those who want to study this field would be told that they’ll have to choose another major because computer science already has “enough” students from their “difference” group.

Especially shocking is the language about “equity” in the distribution of grades. Professors, instead of just awarding the grade that each student earns, would apparently have to adjust them so that academically weaker, “historically underrepresented racial/ethnic” students perform at the same level and receive the same grades as academically stronger students.  

At the very least, this means even greater expenditures on special tutoring for weaker targeted minority students. It is also likely to trigger a new outbreak of grade inflation, as professors find out that they can avoid trouble over “inequitable” grade distributions by giving every student a high grade.

Is there any reason to believe that the UW system’s Inclusive Excellence plan implemented at UW-Madison is going to improve the education of its students? I can see no reason to think so. Actually, the contrary seems more likely.

One problem is that the obsession with all those non-academic details about students comes with a cost—the cost of good students who are not admitted because they don’t seem “diverse” enough. Also, some of the preferred, “diverse” students will be admitted with significantly weaker academic capabilities than their classmates.

Although campus officials regularly fail to publicize detailed results of their diversity programs, my investigations show that roughly a quarter of its “diverse” targeted minority students do not meet the competitive admission standard applied to other applicants. This means that the students UW-Madison is trying to help instead find themselves at an immediate academic disadvantage.

Moreover, the obsession with groups distracts everyone from what truly matters—whether or not each student makes the best academic progress.

The campus climate has worsened by constantly referring to minority students as “targeted” minority students, and in the process stigmatizing them. It has also led to an unseemly “us versus them” mindset among many of those students.

That manifested itself several years ago when Roger Clegg, general counsel of the Washington-based Center for Equal Opportunity came to Madison to report on his research showing that the university’s racial preference policy meant severe discrimination against white and Asian applicants. Two senior UW officials orchestrated a disgraceful pro-diversity mob-like student demonstration at the hotel near campus where Clegg was making his presentation.

The demonstrators burst in and shouted Clegg down until he left the building. (Peter Wood has a good account of the entire matter in this Chronicle piece.)

It is impossible for me to imagine anything less consistent with the values of any educational institution than organizing a mob to protest a talk. It is also impossible for me to think that such a thing could have happened at Madison but for the obsession with diversity that has been building for years.

The University of Wisconsin adopted its first diversity plan back in 1966 and every few years it launches a much-touted new one. During my 30-year teaching career at Madison, followed by more than a decade of retirement, I have seen not the slightest bit of evidence that the fixation on “diversity” has made the campus better in any respect.

I predict this new Inclusive Excellence plan will fail to produce its hoped-for utopian outcomes. In a few years, the university will hear demands for yet another diversity plan.

Achieving “diversity” is like sailing toward the horizon.

You never get there.

H/t EAGnews

~Eowyn

Sarah Palin Slams Holder For Racist Comments.

As usual Sister Sarah is doing the work of the little boys on the Hill. Not a one has the nerve to call Holder out so she does. What a bunch of wimps.

———————————————————————————————–

 19 Jul 2014

Saturday in Denver at the Western Conservative Summit former Governor Sarah Palin (R-AK)  slammed Attorney General Eric Holder for his appearance on ABC’s “This Week” last Sunday when he accused Obama administration detractors of being motivated by race.

Palin slammed Holder, saying, “I don’t need lectures from Eric Holder.” Taunting him, she continued, “Not many cabinet members in U.S. history have been held in contempt of Congress.”

The Tea Party firebrand urged, “instead of shamelessly playing that race card,” he should look at the protests in black and latino communities about the resources going to the illegal immigrant children flooding across the U.S. Mexico border. 

Palin said, “That racism charge is a disgusting, false charge. Just because someone opposes a failed unjust agenda that makes them a racist, Mr. Attorney General?”

Follow Pam Key On Twitter @pamkeyNEN

http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-TV/2014/07/19/Palin-Slams-Eric-Holders-Disgusting-False-Racism-Charges

~Steve~

House says “No” to Obama’s request for $3.7 BILLION for border crisis he fomented

The GOP-majority U.S. House of Representatives is saying “No” to the POS’s request for $3.7 BILLION to address the “border crisis” of wave after wave of illegals aliens surging across the Mexican border into the United States — a crisis fomented by the POS because he refuses to secure America’s southern border.

The Daily Mail reports that only about 3% of the $3.7 BILLION would actually be used to strengthen border security. The largest part of the $3.7 billion would go to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to care for the “unaccompanied children.” Business Insider has a more detailed outline of how the proposed $3.7 billion would be spent.

The Blaze reports that yesterday (Friday, July 11) morning, reporters asked Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Kentucky), chairman of the Appropriations Committee that controls spending, whether the House would approve the $3.7 billion spending package as-is. Rogers said no, “It’s too much money. We don’t need it,” and that no final action is likely until after the November midterm elections.

Rep. Hal RogersCongressman Hal Rogers (R-Kentucky)

Rogers spoke shortly after the Congressional Hispanic Caucus convened a news conference to denounce efforts to attach legal changes to the spending measure that would result in returning the children home more quickly to El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. Those countries account for most of the more than 57,000 unaccompanied “kids” who’ve arrived since October.

Republicans are demanding such changes, but key Senate Democrats are opposed, and members of the all-Democratic Hispanic Caucus added their strong objections Friday that sending the youths home quickly could put them at risk.

Imagine that: Sending the illegal “kids” home “could put them at risk”!!!

Luis GutierrezIllinois Democrat Rep. Luis Gutierrez draped himself with the banner of children’s “rights,” saying, “It would be unconscionable . . . to vote to undermine the rights of these [illegal alien] children.”

Kevin Appleby, director of migration and refugee policy for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, piled on, also claiming that sending “the kids” back means “They’ll be sent back to their persecutors with no help whatsoever, and possibly to their deaths.”

!!!!!!

So now those 57,000 “kids” — among whom are torturers and murderers – suddenly have morphed from pathetic “unaccompanied minors” into political refugees fleeing persecution!

Kevin Appleby

Make sure you tell your Congress critters who are running for reelection this November that you want our borders secured, the Invasion of the Illegals stopped, and that you oppose the $3.7 billion boondoggle that the POS is asking for a crisis that he himself has engendered.

~Eowyn

The Battle of Murietta vs. Invasion of the Illegals

As 400 illegal unaccompanied minors youths a day pour over the Mexican border into the U.S., an insane VPOS Joe Biden told lied to a National Association of Manufacturers meeting that more, not fewer, immigrants should come to America to “bolster” the economy because America needs them “badly from a purely economic point of view.”

Note: As FOTM’s Trail Dust points out, calling these illegals “unaccompanied minors” is a misnomer — a calculated move by the Obama regime and their willing accomplices in the media to gain our sympathy. The truth is many of these “unaccompanied minors” are criminals and gangsters in the late teens who have perpetrated torture and murder. See “We need to re-define the term ‘minors’.

During a tour of the Customs and Border Protection facility in South Texas, Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) took these shocking photos to highlight how overwhelmed U.S. border agents are with the tide of illegal immigrants from Central America.

In one, a large group of immigrants are locked like filthy livestock in a wire mesh cage. In another, tiny children run around a packed room, where foil sheets – the only blankets they have – cover the concrete floors. Up to 40 people a time – most appearing dirty and dejected – are put in rooms only large enough for ten.

caged illegals in TexasIllegals in TexasOvercome by the never-ending tidal wave of illegals, overworked U.S. border patrol officers use yellow evidence tape to “quarantine” the sick. Don Ray, Executive Director of the Texas Border Sheriffs Coalition, said border guards were simply running a strip of yellow tape down the center of the detention facility to separate the youths: “The diseased kids sit on one side and the healthy children on the other. Hardly the best way to go about things.”

Altogether, aided and abetted by the Obama regime, some 300,000 illegals have invaded America since this April, including criminals and many who are ridden with lice, scabies, and contagious diseases like tuberculosis, chicken pox and measles. Lice have been seen in their hair and even crawling down faces. (See “Obama’s Brown Shirts threaten health workers who divulge infectious diseases brought by tidal wave of illegals into America”)

Many of the illegals are unaccompanied youths, some still needing diapers. You may wonder where are their parents and why they would let their children wander across the border on their own.

The answer: Their parents are right here in the United States, no doubt illegally, and they know full well what their children are doing.

How do I know that?

Because the POS’s civilian army, aka the Department of Homeland Security, is spending taxpayer money to transport (by bus and by plane) the illegal youths to reunite with their illegal alien parents.

Isn’t that heartwarming! And you are paying for this!  — assuming, of course, that you actually pay taxes. [Snark]

Murrieta, CA mapThe town of Murietta, California, is at the epicenter of the Invasion of the Illegals because it is there that American citizens are resisting the onslaught.

Yesterday, July 7, 2014, as reported by Breitbart‘s Michelle Moone, for the third time, demonstrators opposed to illegal immigration stood their ground at the Murrieta Border Patrol station, where U.S. Border Patrol had been scheduled to transfer a third round of buses with 140 illegal aliens aboard, from overcrowded Texas detention facilities.

Among the demonstrators were first-timers from many different backgrounds–from young enlisted Marines to legal immigrants from Germany, Mexico, and Central America.

Murietta demonstratorsHere’s a first-person account by movie producer and literary manager Bettina Sofia Viviano (via email):

“I got down to Murrietta around 10 AM today and met Karen Siegemund [of Rage Against the Media], [comedian and author] Evan Sayet, and [radio host] Kender McGowan. There were probably about 200 people on our side there, maybe more. On the other side, there were almost no people – other than about 6-7 La Raza guys with Brown Shirt uniforms. I went up to them and asked for a picture…They responded ‘we don’t let NAZIS take our picture.’ Pretty funny them calling ME a ‘Nazi’ when they had the Brown Shirts on. Oh well.

All of the media trucks were there, the cops… [Despite rumors, there were] NO riot police, SWAT, none of that. I was interviewed for a long time by CBS but I haven’t seen any of it, so not sure they will use it.

The buses NEVER CAME. We waited and waited. I was told that the police helicopters overhead assess how many protestors there are, and then make the decision to divert the buses elsewhere. I think they took them to San Ysidro. We were told Chula Vista, Temecula or San Ysidro but I don’t think anyone knew for sure where they went.

So, nothing big to report. No confrontations of note, no buses. We call it a success because we kept them out of Murrietta, but they’re still here in CA. This sucks. And, as we have noticed Perry and Brewer are very openly dealing with this issue. WHERE IS GOVERNOR MOONBEAM [Jerry Brown]?”

Viviano is planning to go back to Murietta this Thursday.

Last Friday, July 4, members of the pro-illegals Chicano racist group, La Raza, got ugly at Murietta. Michelle Moone reports for Breitbart that the pro-illegals burnt an American flag and impaled torn-up American flags on a fence.

burnt American flag at Muriettatorn up American flags on Murietta fenceBonnie Lewis, an anti-illegal demonstrator at Murietta told Breitbart News she saw one of the pro-amnesty activists dragging an American flag on the ground: “I said: ‘Hey, don’t do that.’ He said: ‘That’s where it belongs’.”

Another anti-illegal immigration activist said that pro-amnesty demonstrators called her a “f***ing whore” in Spanish, and shouted, “F*** America!”

Meanwhile, InvestmentWatch reports that California militia members have united with their comrades in Texas to defend America’s southern border.

H/t FOTM’s swampygirl, CSM, Allan W.

~Eowyn

California Democrat can’t wait for white Americans to die out

Due to aggressive immigration, legal and especially illegal, California is rapidly browning.

In March 2014, at 39% of the state’s population, Latinos officially became the largest demographic group in California, surpassing whites.

But that is not fast enough for David Atkins, the chair of the Democratic Party of Ventura County in southern California.

Atkins spent Independence Day, July 4, 2014, salivating with unsuppressed glee at the thought of the dying out of white Americans in the state of California, which he euphemistically calls the “aging out of the electorate.”

Here are Atkins’ tweets:

David AtkinsThe really weird thing is David Atkins himself is white, of the Jewish variety. That means he’s applauding the “aging out” dying out of himself, although it will take him a while since he is only 33 years old. That in turn means Atkins is a self-loathing white man — a case for the psychiatrist’s couch.

****NOTE USE PHOTO AS A THUMB NAIL mug*** David Atkins. Atkins was elected chair of Ventura County Democratic Central Committee in July 2012. His occupation then was listed as “self-employed research consultant from Ventura,” whatever that means. He’s described as an “online activist” and “a regular contributor to the liberal blog Hullabaloo.”

In June 2011, Atkins was the subject of controversy after he posted racially provocative remarks on his Twitter account during and immediately after a hearing in Oxnard held by the state Citizens Redistricting Committee.

In response to public comments made by residents from eastern Ventura County who said they did not want to be placed in political districts that also included either Oxnard or parts of Los Angeles County, Atkins tweeted his opinion that their concerns were racially based, and suggested they should “just put on your [Ku Klux Klan] white hoods already.”

That remark led county Republican Chairman Mike Osborn to call upon the Democratic committee to censure Atkins, but no action was taken.

H/t California Political Review

~Eowyn

Obama outhouse July 4 parade float provokes cries of racism

A float in this year’s annual Fourth of July parade in Norfolk, Nebraska, is like no other parade float in the city of 24,000 or anywhere in America.

Hunter Woodall reports for World-Herald that float No. 29 depicted an outhouse on a flatbed trailer pulled by a blue pickup truck. Both the float and the truck were decorated with miniature American flags.

The outhouse is labeled the “Obama Presidential Library.”

Obama outhouse parade floatStanding outside the outhouse was a zombie figure dressed in overalls, with greenish head and hands pressed against the sides of his head.

Neither the float nor the pickup identified a sponsor. The only identifying sign was in the windshield saying the float was entry No. 29 in the parade contest.

The Obama outhouse float has provoked outraged cries of racism [Yawn], as well as praise.

Glory KathurimaSource of pic: KMTV

Norfolk resident Glory Kathurima said she attended the parade with her 9-year-old daughter. As a black woman living in Norfolk, Kathurima said she found the float to be an offensive depiction of the president, and seemed to be calling the president stupid. She said the message of the float is clear: “I don’t like Obama.”

So Kathurima emailed Norfolk Mayor Sue Fuchtman, the Norfolk Area Chamber of Commerce, the Norfolk Daily News, and the Norfolk Odd Fellows Lodge that coordinated the parade to voice her disapproval.

The World-Herald also received several emails from people expressing concern. One email, from a person who said she had grown up in northeast Nebraska, called it disrespectful that such a display would be allowed in a parade that celebrates America’s history. The Nebraska Democratic Party also issued a statement, calling it one of the “worst shows of racism and disrespect for the office of the presidency that Nebraska has ever seen.”

Norfolk City Councilman Dick Pfeil also voiced his displeasure with the float: “The City of Norfolk doesn’t condone that.” But he noted, however, that it was up to the Odd Fellows to approve the floats.

Liz Guthrie of Pierce, Nebraska, took a photo of the float that has been widely circulated on social media. From where she watched the parade, Guthrie said she could hear the crowd laughing and clapping as the float passed by.

Parade committee member Rick Konopasek told the Lincoln Journal-Star that the float wasn’t meant to be any more offensive than a political cartoon. He also said the outhouse float was the most popular one in the parade, and the three judges awarded it an honorable mention.

“It’s obvious the majority of the community liked it,” Konopasek said. “So should we deny the 95% of those that liked it their rights, just for the 5% of people who are upset?”

Way to go, Norfolk!Godzilla gif

H/t Clash Daily

~Eowyn

Worst & best states to live in, according to residents

In June-December 2013, Gallup conducted a poll of residents of America’s 50 states, asking them to rank if their state is the “worst possible to live in.

A whopping 25% or 1 out of 4 residents of Illinois rated the state as worst. Illinois, of course, is where the POS began his political career of destroying America.

Top 3 worst states are:

  1. Illinois (14.5% Black)
  2. Connecticut (10.1% Black)
  3. Rhode Island (5.7% Black)

Note that the top 3 worst states are all blue (Democrat) states in the 2012 presidential election who voted for the POS.

Top 3 best states are:

  1. Montana (0.4% Black)
  2. Alaska (3.3% Black)
  3. Utah (0.9% Black)

Note that the top 3 best states are all red (Republican) states in the 2012 presidential election who voted for Mitt Romney.

Acting on a hunch, I added the red state vs. blue state classification, as well as the percentage of Blacks.

Here are the full lists of worst and best states:

Worst StatesBest statesH/t Zero Hedge

~Eowyn

Juneteenth 2.0

See what some people have done with the gift of Juneteenth

This is a followup to the Juneteenth article posted earlier this month.

The Emancipation Proclamation was an extremely important change in American society. It began the process of repentance from the nation’s worst sin. Most people of African descent have made great gains since then, accomplishing noble deeds, strengthening their neighbors, enriching the country with talent, hard work and genius.

Sadly, there are some who would do things so stupid that they risk tainting the reputation of all others who share their race.

WND VIDEO

VIDEO: BLACK MCDONALD’S WORKER PUMMELS WHITE GAL

‘You better get your son before I kick him in the [expletive] face too!’

Harris

Harris

What would Dr. Ben Carson or Bill Cosby think about this hooliganism?

And let’s not forget the “knock-out game.”

 

 

Happy Juneteenth, America.

I Love People, I Despise People

Bogart

I Love People, I Despise People

I love all of my brothers and sisters. But I also despise them.

I love their kindness and the smiles on their faces. I despise their lack of intelligence and their refusal to face reality.

I love their children and their belief in goodness. I despise how easily manipulated they are by the masters of media.

I used to love to entertain them and hear their praise. I despise how they allow themselves to be duped by the artificial emotions of Hollywood and Madison Avenue, and led like puppets to their own destruction.

I love how my brothers and sisters embrace God and religion. I despise how they abandon their principles to justify their desire for abortion and sin. (How can anyone who believes in God and Heaven vote for a candidate who isn’t pro-life? Don’t they know that abortion is a one-way ticket to hell?)

I love humanity. I despise humanity.

Juneteenth – June 19 2014

juneteenth

Juneteenth, also known as
Juneteenth Independence Day,
Freedom Day,
or Emancipation Day

…is a holiday in the United States that commemorates the announcement of the abolition of slavery in the U.S. state of Texas in 1865, and more generally the emancipation of African-American citizens throughout the United States. Celebrated on June 19, the term is a portmanteau of June and nineteenth, and is recognized as a state holiday or special day of observance in most states. – Wikipedia

portmanteau - port·man·teau  – Merriam-Webster Dictionary 

  1. a large suitcase
  2. a word or morpheme whose form and meaning are derived from a blending of two or more distinct forms (as smog from smoke and fog)

Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States.

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.

Later attempts to explain this two and a half year delay in the receipt of this important news have yielded several versions that have been handed down through the years. Often told is the story of a messenger who was murdered on his way to Texas with the news of freedom. Another, is that the news was deliberately withheld by the enslavers to maintain the labor force on the plantations. And still another, is that federal troops actually waited for the slave owners to reap the benefits of one last cotton harvest before going to Texas to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation. All of which, or neither of these version could be true. Certainly, for some, President Lincoln’s authority over the rebellious states was in question For whatever the reasons, conditions in Texas remained status quo well beyond what was statutory.

General Order Number 3

One of General Granger’s first orders of business was to read to the people of Texas, General Order Number 3 which began most significantly with:

“The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and free laborer.”

The reactions to this profound news ranged from pure shock to immediatejubilation. While many lingered to learn of this new employer to employee relationship, many left before these offers were completely off the lips of their former ‘masters’ – attesting to the varying conditions on the plantations and the realization of freedom. Even with nowhere to go, many felt that leaving the plantation would be their first grasp of freedom. North was a logical destination and for many it represented true freedom, while the desire to reach family members in neighboring states drove the some into Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma. Settling into these new areas as free men and women brought on new realities and the challenges of establishing a heretofore non-existent status for black people in America. Recounting the memories of that great day in June of 1865 and its festivities would serve as motivation as well as a release from the growing pressures encountered in their new territory. The celebration of June 19th was coined “Juneteenth” and grew with more participation from descendants. The Juneteenth celebration was a time for reassuring each other, for praying and for gathering remaining family members. Juneteenth continued to be highly revered in Texas decades later, with many former slaves and descendants making an annual pilgrimage back to Galveston on this date.

Juneteenth Festivities and Food

A range of activities were provided to entertain the masses, many of which continue in tradition today. Rodeos, fishing, barbecuing and baseball are just a few of the typical Juneteenth activities you may witness today. Juneteenthalmost always focused on education and self improvement. Thus, oftenguest speakers are brought in and the elders are called upon to recount the events of the past. Prayer services were also a major part of these celebrations.

Certain foods became popular and subsequently synonymous with Juneteenth celebrations such as strawberry soda-pop. More traditional and just as popular was the barbecuing, through which Juneteenth participants could share in the spirit and aromas that their ancestors – the newly emancipated African Americans, would have experienced during their ceremonies. Hence, thebarbecue pit is often established as the center of attention at Juneteenth celebrations.

Food was abundant because everyone prepared a special dish. Meats such as lamb, pork and beef which not available everyday were brought on this special occasion. A true Juneteenth celebrations left visitors well satisfied and with enough conversation to last until the next.

Dress was also an important element in early Juneteenth customs and is often still taken seriously, particularly by the direct descendants who can make the connection to this tradition’s roots. During slavery there were laws on the books in many areas that prohibited or limited the dressing of the enslaved. During the initial days of the emancipation celebrations, there are accounts of former slaves tossing their ragged garments into the creeks and rivers to adorn clothing taken from the plantations belonging to their former ‘masters’.

Juneteenth and Society

In the early years, little interest existed outside the African American community in participation in the celebrations. In some cases, there was outwardly exhibited resistance by barring the use of public property for the festivities. Most of the festivities found themselves out in rural areas around rivers and creeks that could provide for additional activities such as fishing,horseback riding and barbecues. Often the church grounds was the site for such activities. Eventually, as African Americans became land owners, land was donated and dedicated for these festivities. One of the earliest documented land purchases in the name of Juneteenth was organized by Rev. Jack Yates. This fund-raising effort yielded $1000 and the purchase of Emancipation Park in Houston, Texas. In Mexia, the local Juneteenth organization purchased Booker T. Washington Park, which had become the Juneteenth celebration site in 1898. There are accounts of Juneteenth activities being interrupted and halted by white landowners demanding that their laborers return to work. However, it seems most allowed their workers the day off and some even made donations of food and money. For decades these annual celebrations flourished, growing continuously with each passing year. In Booker T. Washington Park, as many as20,000 African Americans once flowed through during the course of a week,making the celebration one of the state’s largest.

Juneteenth Celebrations Decline

Economic and cultural forces provided for a decline in Juneteenth activitiesand participants beginning in the early 1900’s. Classroom and textbook education in lieu of traditional home and family-taught practices stifled the interest of the youth due to less emphasis and detail on the activities of former slaves.Classroom text books proclaimed Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation of January 1, 1863 as the date signaling the ending of slavery – and little or nothing on the impact of General Granger’s arrival on June 19th.

The Depression forced many people off the farms and into the cities to find work. In these urban environments, employers were less eager to grant leaves to celebrate this date. Thus, unless June 19th fell on a weekend or holiday, there were very few participants available. July 4th was the already established Independence holiday and a rise in patriotism steered more toward this celebration.

Resurgence

The Civil Rights movement of the 50’s and 60’s yielded both positive and negative results for the Juneteenth celebrations. While it pulled many of the African American youth away and into the struggle for racial equality, many linked these struggles to the historical struggles of their ancestors. This was evidenced by student demonstrators involved in the Atlanta civil rights campaign in the early 1960’s, whom wore Juneteenth freedom buttons. Again in 1968, Juneteenth received another strong resurgence through Poor Peoples March to Washington D.C.. Rev. Ralph Abernathy’s call for people of all races, creeds, economic levels and professions to come to Washington to show support for the poor. Many of these attendees returned home and initiated Juneteenth celebrations in areas previously absent of such activity. In fact,two of the largest Juneteenth celebrations founded after this March are now held in Milwaukee and Minneapolis.

Texas Blazes the Trail

On January 1, 1980, Juneteenth became an official state holiday through the efforts of Al Edwards, an African American state legislator. The successful passage of this bill marked Juneteenth as the first emancipation celebration granted official state recognition. Edwards has since actively sought to spread the observance of Juneteenth all across America.

Juneteenth In Modern Times

Today, Juneteenth is enjoying a phenomenal growth rate within communities and organizations throughout the country. Institutions such as the Smithsonian, the Henry Ford Museum and others have begun sponsoring Juneteenth-centered activities. In recent years, a number of local and national Juneteenthorganizations have arisen to take their place along side older organizations – all with the mission to promote and cultivate knowledge and appreciation of African American history and culture.

Juneteenth today, celebrates African American freedom and achievement,while encouraging continuous self-development and respect for all cultures. As it takes on a more national, symbolic and even global perspective, the events of 1865 in Texas are not forgotten, for all of the roots tie back to this fertile soil from which a national day of pride is growing.

The future of Juneteenth looks bright as the number of cities and states creating Juneteenth committees continues to increase. Respect and appreciation for all of our differences grow out of exposure and working together. Getting involved and supporting Juneteenth celebrations creates new bonds of friendship and understanding among us. This indeed, brightens our future – and that is theSpirit of Juneteenth.

For more: http://www.juneteenth.com/history.htm

Be sure to visit our follow-up article, “Junteenth 2.0.”