Lift Every Voice: Make Juneteenth a National Holiday

By: - June 19, 2020

President Trump should announce tomorrow at his rally in Tulsa that he is ready to sign legislation to make Juneteenth a national holiday. It is time to recognize the emancipation of former slaves as a day of universal rejoicing, and of soberness as we contemplate the terrible price our nation has paid for the original sin of slavery. Juneteenth, celebrated on the 19th of June, is a perfect opportunity for that recognition.

Make Juneteenth a National Holiday

Juneteenth has been an unofficial holiday in the African-American community for over 150 years. It commemorates the June 1865 official notification in Texas that the slaves had been freed two years earlier. Although celebrated initially only in Texas in 1866, the holiday spread to the rest of Black America over the following years. It has not been widely recognized by the rest of America, however, until this year. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) announced Thursday his plan to introduce a bill creating the new holiday.  It is fitting that a Texas Republican introduce the legislation, and fitting that a Republican President sign it.

Democrats Trying To Cover Up Their Racist Past

For decades, Democrats have tried to cover up their racist past, and blame racial tension on Republicans and their policies. While Sen. Cornyn is drafting his bill, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is busy removing portraits and statues of slave holders and segregationists from the Capitol. Pelosi fails to mention that except for one Independent, all the people honored by those portraits and statues were Democrats.

Pelosi also has said nothing about the statues in Baltimore honoring Confederate leaders. Her silence may be attributable to the fact that the statues were erected while her father, Tommy Alessandro, was mayor-for-life of Baltimore. There is a clear pattern here, and I suspect that the removals have more to do with Democrats’ desperate attempt to erase their racist history than with caring for Black lives.

Woke Millennials repeat “Black Lives Matter” robotically, while ignoring the thousands of Black lives taken by criminal violence (and the thousands more saved from criminal violence by heroic police officers). They ignore the millions of Black lives sacrificed on the altar of eugenic population control by Democrats in thrall to the death cult of abortion. How many of the woke ones know that hundreds of thousands of white men, soldiers in the Union Army, died to give liberty to the Black men, women, and children who were enslaved?  How many know that the system of slavery was protected for centuries by cagey politicians, all of whom were Democrats?

“The Black National Anthem”

Honoring Juneteenth will ensure that the history of the Emancipation Proclamation and the honorable fight to free the slaves and preserve the Union will not be forgotten. I was in my twenties before I heard of Juneteenth, and in my thirties before I first heard “Lift Every Voice And Sing,” the great hymn that is sometimes called “the Black National Anthem.” Every school child should be taught both the holiday and the hymn, so they learn the history associated with them. The entire nation would be edified by learning these verses. My favorite is the last:

God of our weary years,
God of our silent tears,
Thou who has brought us thus far on the way;
Thou who has by Thy might
Led us into the light,
Keep us forever in the path, we pray.
Lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met Thee,
Lest, our hearts drunk with the wine of the world, we forget Thee;
Shadowed beneath Thy hand,
May we forever stand,
True to our God,
True to our native land.

The riots and arson that we have seen since the murder of George Floyd will not improve Black lives. They bring only misery to the communities where they happen. But the pain of the Black community is undeniable, and deserves to be addressed. Symbolic acts are a good starting place in understanding one another. Making Juneteenth a national holiday will unite us all in beginning that understanding. We will not survive as a nation if we are divided.

As President Lincoln said in his first Inaugural Address, “We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”