What Juneteenth Means To Me

Happy Juneteenth everyone!

Juneteenth represents freedom from the physical slavery of Blacks in America.

I understand the importance of remembering and celebrating history and I'm intentional about preserving my family history which includes slavery.

God plainly instructed the Israelites in their journey to the Promised Land not to forget how He delivered them from slavery in Egypt. He instructed them to teach every generation and never forget His mighty delivering power!

(Deuteronomy 32:7 NLT)

“Remember the days of long ago;

think about the generations past.

Ask your father, and he will inform you.

Inquire of your elders, and they will tell you”.

This is an excerpt from my book "Grasping at the Wind".

"My father was born June 22, 1913, in Birmingham, Alabama.

Birmingham became a city in 1871. Iron ore, coal, and limestone in the land in and around Birmingham supplied steel mills that sprouted up providing jobs for blacks weary of sharecropping on old plantations for little or no profit.

During the turn of he century, Birmingham became the industrial capitol of the South.

My grandfather was born was born in 1894, in Elmore County, Alabama to my great-grandfather Gilbert.

Mr. Gilbert was born in 1874, and was married to my great-grandmother Josephine.

Mr. Gilbert’s father and my great-great-grandfather Abe was born

in 1830 in Elmore County, Alabama. The 1880 census listed

my great-great-grandfather as a mulatto, which meant his parents had a mixture of white and/or Indian blood combined

with black blood.

The 1880 and 1910 census listed both my great-grandmother Josephine and great-great-grandmother Betsy as black.

Elmore County, located on the outskirts of Montgomery Alabama, straddled a region called the Black Belt. The soil in the

Black Belt region proved exceptionally productive for growing

cotton. This region extended from Texas to Virginia and produced many plantations in the antebellum South.

After the Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery in 1863,

many freed slaves remained on plantations working as sharecroppers.

They barely eked out a living because of the unfair

practices of ex-slave owners and Jim Crow laws designed

to keep the African-American race in bondage despite the

passing of this law.

Usually, ex-slaves took the last name of their ex-owners and worked the land of their old plantations.

Through research, I found out that, two large plantation owners in Elmore County, during that time, had the last name of