Happy Juneteenth!

Rufus F.

Rufus is an American curmudgeon in Canada. He has a PhD in History, sings in a garage rock band, and does many things. He is the author of the forthcoming book "The Paris Bureau" from Dio Press (early 2021).

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19 Responses

  1. Trumwill says:

    I’m partly of the mind that we should celebrate Juneteenth rather than MLK’s birthday. It seems like a more whole celebration. I suppose it is kind of close to July 4th, though.Report

    • greginak in reply to Trumwill says:

      @Trumwill, how is this a “whole” celebration? We were at war with folks who bitterly resented this Federal intrusion on their states rights.Report

    • Scott in reply to Trumwill says:


      Why should we, as in the US nation, celebrate either one, especially when Washington’s and Lincoln’s birthdays have been combined into a single holiday which slights both great Americans? Sorry but MLK may have done great things to advance African American civil rights but he didn’t do much of anything for the rest of us. I thought national holidays were reserved for those that did things of great importance to all the people of this nation not just a minority.Report

      • Jason Kuznicki in reply to Scott says:

        MLK did do great things for white people. To begin with, he taught us a thing or two…Report

        • Jason Kuznicki in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

          @Jason Kuznicki,

          or perhaps I should say “he taught at least some of us a thing or two….”Report

        • Jim in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

          @Jason Kuznicki, And a lot more than that. The whole New South arose as a result of the interrogation of traditional class roles in the South that the CRM occasioned. Before the CRM people like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson would never have had any national status; they would have remained regional Elmer Gantrys. The wealth and political power of the new Southern middle class made these people.Report

      • ThatPirateGuy in reply to Scott says:


        I am flabbergasted that anyone would claim that both the end of slavery and MLK’s actions are not worth national remembrance and celebration.

        Especially with the line “they only benefited minorities.” This begs the question if white people(I’m guessing that this is our non-minority) didn’t benefit from the civil rights era and the end of slavery were the merely un-affected or do you think they were hurt by the events?

        Secondly, what about justice? Both of these events were major steps forward in the advancement of actual liberty in the united states. You can’t be a free nation with slavery or Jim Crow.Report

      • Jim in reply to Scott says:

        @Scott, That’s pretty ahistorical. MLK worked in an tiem when Cathoolics and Jews were becoming mainstream in America after WWII. The CRM was the logicla and revolutionary extension of that development. That’s pretty national in scope if you ask me.

        You may think national holidays are intended to honor individuals if you like. You are free to feel Washington and Lincoln have been “slighted”. I am sure that Washington would have been less than pleased to see his birthday a holiday, but you are free to think it deserves its own day. He was lenient like that.

        But I think national holidays should mark something important in the nation’s histry and development.

        it’s odd that you don’t think MLK benefitred the whole nation. Everyone is in some minority or other. You would think especially that religious deviants in this country would show some appreciation, considering the shit some of them have endured. Imagine anyone trying to chase the Mormons out of Missouri these days.

        “I am flabbergasted that anyone would claim that both the end of slavery”

        No shit. 625,000 dead white men would beg to differ.Report

        • ThatPirateGuy in reply to Jim says:


          On a related tangent, I’ve started listening to David Blight’s itunes U lectures on the civil war. The guy can give a speech.Report

        • Rufus in reply to Jim says:

          @Jim, I guess the way I look at it is more selfish- I see the civil rights movement as cutting the legs out from under the Soviets by both addressing one of their favorite criticisms of the U.S. and showing that the superiority of the American system is that it is self-correcting, while the Soviet system was not. So I think it was a gain for America in that sense, while also sticking a thumb in the eye of the USSR. Basically a win-win.Report

      • Trumwill in reply to Scott says:

        @Scott, the fact that we roll all our presidents together and give MLK a day of his own is one of the reasons that I lean towards celebrating Juneteenth instead.

        The reasons that I believe that we still ought to celebrate one day for “a minority” are at least twofold. First, because the end of slavery was a moral good for our country, whites included. Second, because we celebrate Independence Day, which was only independence for some. Celebrating Juneteenth as an official holiday helps ceremonially rectify that. Celebrating not just the independence of America, but the independence of the rest of America.

        Now, the problem with Juneteenth is that post-slavery was only partial freedom. It was a first step. The argument in favor of MLK Day instead of Juneteenth is that it is a celebration of the more recent step in which MLK played a significant role. I would prefer take the focus away from MLK specifically as he was one man (albeit a very important one) in a larger movement.

        Either way, though, we need at least one major holiday where everyone (well, specifically the government) takes a time out and celebrates. The transition of blacks from slavery to the freedoms they hold today is worthy of that celebration.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Scott says:

        @Scott, MLK may have done great things to advance African American civil rights but he didn’t do much of anything for the rest of us.

        His legacy includes allowing me another reason to be proud of my country and one less to be ashamed of it. That’s what he did for me.Report

  2. Dylan says:

    Why not both? They celebrate two very different, very important things, from very different periods.

    By the way, while we’re speaking of Texas, check out what state holiday that state celebrated the day after MLK day this year.Report

  3. Jaybird says:

    (Obligatory Libertarian Disclaimers Here)

    As Federal Holidays go, we could do a lot worse than putting this up there next to Thanksgiving.Report