Raphaël Biscaldi

As summer begins, it is a great time to celebrate African American holidays and commemorate the many ways in which African Americans have contributed to the United States. From Juneteenth to Nelson Mandela International Day, there are many African American holidays that we can observe throughout the summer months to honor the diversity of our nation. These African American holidays are a way to recognize the progress African Americans have made over the centuries and to celebrate the unique African American culture that has enriched our lives. Let’s take a look at some of the special African American holidays that occur during the summer season.

Juneteenth

Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Jubilee Day, is a holiday celebrated annually on June 19th. This holiday is one of the most important celebrations in African-American history, commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.

The history of Juneteenth dates back to June 19th, 1865, when Union General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas and announced that all slaves were free. This announcement came two years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, but it took time for the news to reach Texas. For many slaves in Texas, Juneteenth represented a day of new beginnings and newfound freedom.

Unfortunately, the celebration of Juneteenth declined during the Jim Crow era, a period of legalized segregation and racial discrimination in the United States. It was during this time that many African-Americans faced violence, intimidation, and other forms of persecution if they dared to celebrate their freedom. Juneteenth celebrations became underground and were limited to small gatherings in homes or churches.

Thankfully, in recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in Juneteenth. Today, it is celebrated across the country, with events such as parades, barbecues, and music festivals. The holiday has also been recognized as an official state holiday or observance in 48 states and the District of Columbia.

Juneteenth is an important reminder of the long journey toward freedom and equality for African-Americans. It’s a time to reflect on the progress that has been made, but also the work that still needs to be done. As we celebrate Juneteenth, we honor the struggles and triumphs of our ancestors and recommit ourselves to creating a more just and equitable society for all.

Maafa Commemoration

The Maafa Commemoration is a holiday celebrated on July 18 that remembers and honors the millions of African people who lost their lives during the transatlantic slave trade. “Maafa” is a Kiswahili term meaning “great tragedy” or “great disaster.” This day is a solemn occasion that seeks to acknowledge and remember the inhumanity and atrocities inflicted upon African people during the slave trade.

The commemoration is not only meant to acknowledge the horrors of the past, but also to honor the strength, resilience, and determination of those who survived and their descendants. The holiday encourages African-American people to come together, reflect on their shared history, and celebrate their heritage and culture.

The Maafa Commemoration has been celebrated for over 20 years and is observed by many communities and organizations across the United States. It is an important reminder of the legacy of slavery and its continuing impact on African-American people. This day is also an opportunity for individuals to engage in educational and healing activities, including lectures, music, and storytelling, which promote understanding and unity among all people.

Caribbean-American Heritage Month

Caribbean-American Heritage Month is a celebration that honors the rich culture and contributions of Caribbean Americans to the United States. Every year in June, Caribbean-American communities across the country come together to celebrate their shared history and heritage.

This celebration is a recognition of the significant impact that Caribbean Americans have made in fields such as literature, music, politics, and more. It is also a time to celebrate the diversity and richness of Caribbean culture, which is deeply rooted in the history and traditions of the region’s many different countries and islands.

Caribbean-American Heritage Month was first established in 2006 by a resolution in the United States Congress, which recognized the importance of celebrating the contributions of Caribbean Americans to the nation’s history and culture. Since then, it has grown in popularity and has become an important part of the summer calendar for many Caribbean-American communities.

Throughout the month of June, there are many events and activities held to celebrate Caribbean-American Heritage Month. These may include parades, festivals, concerts, and cultural performances that showcase the music, dance, art, and food of the Caribbean. It is also a time for community members to come together and reflect on the challenges and triumphs of the Caribbean-American experience.

Black Music Month

June is recognized as Black Music Month in the United States, celebrating the rich history and cultural impact of African American music. Black Music Month was first established by President Jimmy Carter in 1979 to honor the contributions that black musicians have made to the American musical landscape. The month-long celebration was then signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2009.

Black Music Month celebrates a wide variety of music genres that have been heavily influenced by the African American community, such as jazz, blues, soul, R&B, and hip-hop. Throughout history, black musicians have used their art to express their experiences and emotions, often shedding light on the struggles and injustices faced by the black community.

This celebration not only recognizes the artistic contributions of African American musicians but also highlights the importance of music as a tool for bringing people together and promoting cultural understanding. During Black Music Month, communities come together to attend concerts, festivals, and events showcasing black musicians and their diverse musical styles.

As we celebrate Black Music Month this year, let us reflect on how black music has influenced and enriched the American music scene, and let us honor the talents and legacies of the many great black musicians who have shaped our musical history.

National Black Business Month

August is known as National Black Business Month, a time dedicated to celebrating the contributions of African American entrepreneurs and business owners. The goal of this month-long celebration is to bring awareness to the challenges and obstacles faced by black business owners and to encourage the support of these businesses within their communities.

National Black Business Month was founded in 2004 by Frederick E. Jordan Sr. and John William Templeton. The two men, who are themselves successful business owners, wanted to create a platform for African American entrepreneurs to share their stories and successes. The goal was to not only bring attention to these business owners but to also help them thrive.

The celebration of National Black Business Month has been a powerful tool in creating awareness of the importance of supporting black-owned businesses. This support can be seen in the creation of more business incubators, funding opportunities, and partnerships. Additionally, more African American consumers are becoming aware of the importance of supporting these businesses and are choosing to spend their money in ways that directly support the community.

This month-long celebration has been instrumental in addressing the many challenges faced by black business owners, including lack of access to capital, discrimination, and limited resources. National Black Business Month helps bring these issues to light, which leads to greater action and change.

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