Juneteenth-A Celebration of Hope In Mexico

J. Harris

The “Southern Underground Railroad” helped formerly enslaved people reach freedom in northern Mexico. One village here has observed Juneteenth for 150 years.

CelebrationPhoto by Ambreen Hasan on Unsplash

“As many as 5,000 enslaved African Americans escaped to freedom in Mexico, after that country outlawed slavery in 1829. While most traveled on their own or in small groups, some were helped by an informal network of free African Americans, Mexicans, Tejanos, and German settlers. Motivations for assisting the refugees were complex — some did so out of sympathy, while others were paid to transport them across the border.” Source: www.nationalgeographic.com

Juneteenth! What a great holiday and what a great time to finally make it official in the U.S.! This is a huge acknowledgment to the non-white people in this country and about damn time. (I don’t want to sound racist. I hope I am not.) I love all people!

There has always been slavery in the world ever since the time of Christ and let’s not forget the Egyptians and Romans and how they treated people. Did they ever acknowledge the reasons for their actions? No!

The U.S. has a few holidays that are fun and happy; the 4th of July, Christmas, New Years, St. Patrick’s Day, Labor Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving. I think Juneteenth should be one of those. Even though everyone knows its connotations, it should be a day of feeling the freedom of feeling battered, bruised, killed. It should be a day of feeling empowered and feeling jubilant.

Opinion | It can't be a great Juneteenth when the people who made it a holiday push anti-Black laws
After I heard that the United States Senate unanimously passed a bipartisan bill to make Juneteenth a national holiday…www.nbcnews.com

There is always some kind of conundrum when this subject comes up. (How can this happen when this is happening?)

In northern Mexico’s Coahuila State there’s a village where locals celebrate Juneteenth by eating traditional Afro-Seminole foods, dancing to norteña music, and practicing capeyuye — hand-clapped hymnals sung by enslaved peoples who traveled the southern Underground Railroad to freedom.

It may seem unlikely that this holiday would be honored in a small village at the base of the Sierra Madre range, but Nacimiento de los Negros — meaning “Birth of the Blacks” — became a haven for the Mascogos, descendants of Black Seminoles who escaped the brutality of the antebellum South and settled in Mexico.

Now, long after the group came to Nacimiento in 1852, a new challenge remains for the Mascogos: Keeping their culture and traditions alive. In a country of approximately 130 million people, where 1.3 million identify as Afro-descendants, there are only a few hundred Mascogos. Decades of navigating ongoing drought conditions in Mexico, currently affecting 84 percent of the country, have devasted the village’s agriculture-based economy. Younger community members have little choice but to seek new opportunities elsewhere.” Source: www.nationalgeographic.com

I never knew this and why would I? I am white and none of this was taught in history class nor geography in a predominately white-Catholic elementary school nor a public high school for that matter.

What else have they kept from American kids about history? No wonder there is so much strife and misunderstanding in our society.

A Chapter In U.S. History Often Ignored: The Flight Of Runaway Slaves To Mexico
In a forgotten cemetery on the edge of Texas in the Rio Grande delta, Olga Webber-Vasques says she's proud of her…www.npr.org

Little has been known about this until now. Thanks to Google, National Geographic, NPR, and others for this information.

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I usually write about a lot of subject matter from my own personal life to animal behavior. Everything in between. I have been writing for over two years but have always been a writer and avid reader. I lived in Atlanta, GA for sixty years then moved to South Florida and it was a huge change for me. I write truth as I see it in hopes it will help others.

Plantation, FL

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