Juneteenth: A National Holiday or a Celebration of Afrocentrism?

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Juneteenth, or the unofficial, second Independence Day, has become a bit of a mystery regardless of its widespread popularity. As most people know, enslaved Black Americans from Galveston, Texas basked in their newfound freedom back on June 19, 1865. The Village Method believes that by observing and examining history through the lens of Afrocentrism, we could empower young African-Americans and enable them to voice their valid concerns. 

Systemic racism in education continues to be a direct repercussion of slavery. Juneteenth should not be regarded as just another blip in African-American popular history. Instead, it should become a profound catalyst for race conversations within classrooms, anti-racist education, and anti-racist teaching as a whole. 

In today’s article, we’re going to explore the true cultural, social, and racial meaning of Juneteenth. We’ll keep in mind that African-American history deserves to be taught in schools not just a few days a year, but all year round. Read on to find out all you need to know about this Afrocentric idea!

Juneteenth: A Celebration of Afrocentrism and Anti-Racist Teaching

The 1863 Emancipation Proclamation impacted all African-American communities, although not immediately. Rather predictably, it did not free all those who had suffered at the hands of cruel slavery. As with most things, western civilization was reluctant to give away its power or at least learn a thing or two about African civilization and its indestructible spirit.

In truth, freedom arrived years later, in 1865, when Black soldiers joined the Union and lent the people a much-needed hand. The people of Galveston, Texas remain, centuries later, a symbol of hope, and pride for the contemporary African-American culture. Although President Joe Biden consecrated Juneteenth as the newest national holiday, we still have a long way to go.

Afrocentrism is a continuous celebration, a reminder that throughout history, European culture was in no way superior to African culture. Instead, it was nothing but the adamant oppressor, the reason why we channeled our collective pain into deep, Afrocentric thought. The western world still has a long way to go when it comes to fully absorbing and comprehending the African mind. Still, why is Afrocentrism not an integral part of the curriculum?

Afrocentrism in Schools or How the Curriculum Continues to Ignore African History

As with most things that possess African origins, Juneteenth is sadly not taught in most schools in America. Apparently, the African-American past is too traumatic and controversial to be talked about. Black communities of children who are currently studying in schools are robbed of the Afrocentric perspective on stories about abolitionists, slavery, and the painful African past.

Since Juneteenth remains left out of most history textbooks, it becomes a moral duty for anti-racist educators to take matters into their own hands. Therefore, they have to consistently seek out relevant resources that promote Afrocentric education. Among many Afrocentric scholars, there is one that has his origins precisely in Galveston, Texas. His name is Dr. Asa G. Hilliard III.

The current curriculum has no real interest in exploring Black pioneers. In fact, the westerners’ obsession with Black excellence seems like a concept meant to do more harm than good. Dr. Asa G. Hilliard III was one of the first people to popularize Afrocentric ideas that fascinate our people to this day. Our youth has a right to become familiarized with extraordinary figures that improved Black life in its entirety.

His lifelong interest in the Kemet population of ancient Egypt serves as a reminder that African-American studies still have a long way to go. Anti-racist teaching should ideally serve as a reminder in regards to the achievements, obstacles, and triumphs of our people. Whatever the curriculum is systematically avoiding, culturally affirming after-school programs should bring to the surface. 

Exploring Afrocentrism Through Culturally Empowering After-School Programs

As responsible parents and anti-racist educators, we ought to bring our young scholars closer to the truth. The truth is that Afrocentrism should be an integral part of the social, economic, and political life of our people. As far as education is concerned, every Black family is in dire need of equitable family engagement activities.

Anti-racist education becomes an idealistic mission that is removed from reality without efficiently engaging families. Family engagement activities successfully dismantle centuries of systemic racism in education. According to the Journal of Youth Development, researchers have demonstrated that Black caregivers are more likely to enroll their children in after-school programs. It is time to offer them exactly what they’ve been looking for.

Beyond Juneteenth: Afrocentric After-School Programs

The Village Method is the perfect Afrocentric solution for parents and educators who have an interest in anti-racist education. Together, we can build prosperous villages of healthy, happy, and empowered children and parents. Systemic racism in education can be defeated if only we decide to join hands.

Among many other things, we offer culturally responsive Youth Development conducted by anti-racist educators, Family Engagement activities that aim to connect the young scholars and their educators to the parents’ expertise and wisdom, and Community Outreach programming in South Alameda County. Get involved now and help our mission touch the lives of countless children and families!

Zavia Jarret

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