Wednesday, 12 June 2013 09:48
When George Orwell wrote the novel 1984, he envisioned a character, real or imagined "Big Brother" who was a know-all, see-all, omnipotent and elusive presence that intruded into lives because he could. Those who knew about "him" were told that they did not exist, but in many ways, Big Brother may not have existed, either. The omnipotence had taken on a life of its own.
Orwell's book was a book ahead of its time. At a different time, his book could have been dismissed as psychedelic fantasy. Today, he is just a step behind the reality in which we live. Verizon is sharing telephone records. The Department of Justice is monitoring journalists, and the IRS is playing games with those who seek nonprofit status. People pulled over for a minor traffic violation will have to submit fingerprints to find out if they have broken other laws. Big Brother is alive and well in too many layers of our lives.
Meanwhile, market researchers are segmenting populations by zip code and consumer patterns. They can tell you what percentage of Whites; African Americans or Latinos live in a certain zip code. They can tell you what you earn, what you are worth, and how many of your neighbors have criminal records. The zip code data drives marketers. Does it also drive law enforcement?
Wednesday, 13 June 2012 07:03
I was a boy growing up in Sweetwater, Texas, I remember "Juneteenth" as a very big day of celebration for the African Americans in our town. And it still is a very big day of celebration for African Americans because Juneteenth is celebrated as Black Independence Day.
Over the years, the tradition of celebrating June 19 as a day of freedom traveled with African Americans who moved from Texas to Louisiana, Arkansas, and Oklahoma - then eventually to such states as Alabama, Florida, and California. The celebration was a great deal like the Fourth of July with picnics, games, reading of Emancipation Proclamation, inspirational speeches, stories from former slaves, rodeos, dances, and prayer services.
Wednesday, 13 June 2012 06:58
(NNPA) — We have all heard the expression, "If you don't know your history, you will repeat it." And, there is good reason for us to remember one particular period of our history - Juneteenth. It marks the anniversary of the date the slaves in Texas were freed - two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was enacted and slaves elsewhere were liberated!
Juneteenth refers to that time, between June 13th and l9th, 1865 and is sometimes known as the Black Independence Day. It is the oldest known celebration of slave emancipation, and in some areas is celebrated instead of July 4th. Texas was the last state in the union to make the announcement of freedom and what began as a single state celebration has turned into a nationally recognized holiday.
In the month of June, many of us are focused on multicultural activities and reenactments of historical events. What we must remember are the hardships our ancestors endured so that we could prosper. Just as families came together to celebrate their long awaited freedom in 1865, we should do the same today. We have come a long way from the chains and irons that once bound our family members, but not far enough. Many of us, as we became educated, forgot some essentials. But, we must remember yesterday, and in doing so, reach back and reach out to our brothers and sisters who have not been as fortunate. Back in the day, slaves were not allowed many privileges like reading. Now that reading is not a crime, we can learn about our history and pass that knowledge onto others.
Tuesday, 31 May 2011 23:34
Most of us learned in school that President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. Word that slaves were now freed spread through the Union and most of the Confederacy, though most slave owners did not follow Lincoln’s order. However, word of freedom did not reach Texas until two and one-half years after the Emancipation Proclamation.
There are many stories to explain this delay. Some say that a messenger carrying news of the Proclamation was murdered on his way to Texas. Others believe that slaveowners withheld the information to maintain control of their slaves. Another version has federal troops waiting for the last cotton harvest to benefit slaveowners before making the announcement. Whether any of these tales is true is unknown, but whatever the reason, slavery remained in Texas longer than allowed by U.S. law. The Confederate surrender came in April of 1865 and after that Union General Granger led a regiment to Texas.
One of the first actions he took was to issue General Order Number 3, which read: “The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with the Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves as absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and free labor.”
Many slaves stayed with former owners to establish the employee-employer relationship, but many others, detesting the conditions of slavery left to begin creating a new status for black people in America. Many of them returned east to be reunited with families in the south. As the former Texas slaves established new lives, they carried with them the memory of that June day when they learned of their freedom and they celebrated.
Saturday, 07 August 2010 07:00
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