Rest in Peace, Rep. John Lewis

Representative John Lewis, a son of sharecroppers and an apostle of nonviolence who was bloodied at Selma and across the Jim Crow South in the historic struggle for racial equality and who then carried a mantle of moral authority into Congress, died on Friday. He was 80.

His death was confirmed by a senior Democratic official.

He announced on Dec. 29 that he had Stage 4 pancreatic cancerand vowed to fight it with the same passion with which he had battled racial injustice. “I have been in some kind of fight — for freedom, equality, basic human rights — for nearly my entire life,” he said.

From The New York Times.

Dear Black America

A gorgeous, stirring, evocative paean to Black America by Pulitzer winner Tracy K. Smith.

We are many things, aren’t we? We are hair. God yes, we are hair. And song. And memory. We are a language so deep it has no need for words. And we are words that feint, dart and wheel like birds. Like James Brown, we feel good. Like Fannie Lou Hamer, we are sick and tired. We are fearsome. We are fire. Like God, we are that we are.

I’ve always felt great freedom in the countless territories making up the realm of Blackness. So many routes to wholeness. So many versions of joy. In Blackness I am local. In Blackness I am also distant kin. Indigenous and immigrant at once. Host and welcome guest.

But in the country of America—the physical and psychic territory in which the physical and psychic domain of Black America is situated—we are made to huddle together. By force. By the feelings of rage, threat, exhaustion, disappointment and longsuffering that extend toward us from this nation that loathes, fears, regrets and cannot yet fully bear to accept the fact of us.

And I hear my uncles saying, “Tell me something I don’t know,” with laughter in their throats. And it is that laughter—our laughter—that I cleave to.

Smith, Tracy K. (2020, July 2).Dear Black America: A Letter From Tracy K. Smith. Lithub.

In Honor of Juneteenth

Note: This article will be updated through Friday, June 19, 2020.

Final update, 11:55pm, June 19, 2020.

That’s it for our Juneteenth updates. We’ll resume our regular posts on Monday.

(Or we might post on the weekend. Our list of reading material just seems to keep growing.)

Updated 9:46 am, June 19, 2020.

Updated 7:20pm, June 18, 2020.

On June 19, 1865, Union Army General Gordon Granger stood on the balcony of Ashton Villa in Galveston, Texas, and read out the contents of General Order No. 3.

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 personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.

June 19 – Juneteenth is a portmanteau of June and Nineteenth – is now recognized as a state holiday or ceremonial holida in 49 out of 50 states and Washington, D.C.

In the current climate, observing Juneteenth is even more important and momentous than it has been in the recent past. With that in mind, here is a list of resources to help you commemorate the day

History of Juneteenth

Celebration and Observance

Other Reading/Watching Material

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