On Juneteenth

On Juneteenth by Annette Gordon-Reed is a wonderful intertwining of the author’s personal history and the history of Texas. She deftly slips back and forth between the two to explain why she loves a state so fraught historically and for people of color specifically. “Weaving together American history, dramatic family chronicle, and searing episodes of memoir, Annette Gordon-Reed’s On Juneteenth provides a historian’s view of the country’s long road to Juneteenth, recounting both its origins in Texas and the enormous hardships that African-Americans have endured in the century since, from Reconstruction through Jim Crow and beyond. All too aware of the stories of cowboys, ranchers, and oilmen that have long dominated the lore of the Lone Star State, Gordon-Reed―herself a Texas native and the descendant of enslaved people brought to Texas as early as the 1820s―forges a new and profoundly truthful narrative of her home state, with implications for us all.” (Amazon) Amazon’s description is quite long and I did not include it all here, but this spare work is a powerful one and well-worth picking up, especially if you don’t know this history already.

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