While June is marked (now) by Juneteenth celebrations there is not one day in the roster of American holidays that acknowledges the humanity of Enslaved Africans that literally built American wealth and the power that resulted from that wealth. The recent Juneteenth Holiday celebrates “the end of slavery” as an however many Americans have never learned and do not comprehend the facts of American chattel slavery. Barbeques and entertainment are great distractions that subvert attention from the nature of chattel slavery.
“He had struck down my personality, had subjected me to his will, made property of my body and soul, reduced me to a chattel …”
— Frederick Douglass
The essence of Douglass’ words attests to the fact that, enslaved Africans in America we not considered or treated as human beings. Celebrating Emancipation somewhat glosses over the acknowledgement of American chattel slavery. Despite a trend toward resistance there are increasing efforts to present and reveal accurate histories to both children and adults.
The Emancipation Marathon community will again read about “that peculiar institution” aloud, however readings will be live/live-streamed and videoed. Saturday June 26th from 10:30am-5:00pm there will be live and live-stream readings from Changing Hands Bookstore in Phoenix. Changing Hands has been a long-time supporter of The Emancipation Marathon. We will also have mini-concerts throughout the days that The Marathon will be posted to social media. I’m particularly excited that musician Eric Bibb has agreed to do a mini-concert and reading from Sweden!
I am inviting several other artists to perform in their specific genres so that music from throughout the African diaspora will be represented by Afro-Caribbean, Gospel, Blues, Zydeco and Jazz. This is part of a holistic project (The Birthright Project) to put musical instruments back into the hands of Black people of all ages and reclaim our musical birthright, foster a greater sense of community and facilitate mental health.