Remembering Juneteenth

The lush songs of plump strawberries and fresh crabs in Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess transport me to an imaginary 1800s picnic. I close my eyes and take in the whiff of moonshine and fresh honeysuckles, but I can’t taste the infancy of hope.

Nicole Taylor's Emancipation Day picnic.
Nicole Taylor’s Emancipation Day picnic.

Last week, millions of Americans observed Juneteenth. The celebration originated on June 19, 1865, two years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. This is the date when the enslaved people of Galveston, Texas, received the official freedom announcement, also known as “Jubilee.”

An Emancipation Day Celebration in Austin, Texas. Photo courtesy of Austin History Center.
An Emancipation Day Celebration in Austin, Texas. Photo courtesy of Austin History Center.

As Juneteenth’s official website proclaims, “the barbecue pit is often established as the center of attention” and “education and self improvement are always the focus”.

SFA guest blogger Nicole Taylor is a Brooklyn-based writer and radio host with Georgia roots. You can follow her on Twitter at @foodculturist.