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San Francisco Chronicle

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News Article

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Strawberry soda. Savory BBQ. Collard greens. Sweet corn. Watermelon. Cherry pie.

My father was a Black Texan. My mother was a Black Arkansan. When they migrated to California, they brought with them traditions passed down through ancestors from West Africa and the Congo. My parents understood the powerful symbol the color red expressed on the table: a reminder of the sacrifices endured.

This is my Juneteenth.

This month, the nation will join in celebrating Juneteenth, a federal holiday that acknowledges when enslaved Black people in Texas were finally freed on June 19, 1865 — more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. Starting next year, my home institution and my alma mater, the University of the Pacific, will celebrate Juneteenth as a holiday.


Originally published here in the SF Chronicle.