“But, if this part of our history could be told in
such a way that those chains of the past,
those shackles that physically bound us together
against our wills could, in the telling,
become spiritual links that willingly bind us
together now and into the future –
then that painful Middle Passage could become,
ironically, a positive connecting line
to all of us whether living inside or
outside the continent of Africa…”
Tom Feelings – Artist
Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. The passage above captures the spirit of Juneteenth.
Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. Note that this was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation – which had become official January 1, 1863.
The Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on the Texans due to the minimal number of Union troops to enforce the new Executive Order. However, with the surrender of General Lee in April of 1865, and the arrival of General Granger’s regiment, the forces were finally strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance.
From its Galveston, Texas origin in 1865, the observance of June 19th as the African American Emancipation Day has spread across the United States and beyond.
“On Juneteenth we think about that moment in time when the enslaved in Galveston, Texas received word of their freedom. We imagine the depth of their emotions, their jubilant dance and their fear of the unknown.”
Juneteenth is a day on which honor and respect is paid for the sufferings of slavery. It is a day on which we acknowledge the evils of slavery and its aftermath.
Today Juneteenth commemorates African American freedom and emphasizes education and achievement. It is a day, a week, and in some areas a month marked with celebrations, guest speakers, picnics and family gatherings. It is a time for reflection and rejoicing. It is a time for assessment, self-improvement and for planning the future.
“Juneteenth is a day where we can all take one step closer together – to better utilize the energy wasted on racism. It is a day that we renew our fight for justice and racial equality.”
Juneteenth’s growing popularity signifies a level of maturity and dignity in America long over due. In cities across the country, people of all races, nationalities and religions are joining hands to truthfully acknowledge a period in our history that shaped and continues to influence our society today. Sensitized to the conditions and experiences of others, only then can we make significant and lasting improvements in our society.
“Juneteenth is a day when we commit to each other the needed support as family, friends and co-workers. It is a day we build coalitions that enhance African American economics.”
Learn more about the history and celebration of Juneteenth at Juneteenth.com
A round-up of articles about Juneteenth and African-American businesses to support:
There are many ways to support the struggle against systemic racism and police brutality. You can donate money to a local, grassroots organization. You can join a protest, if you feel you can do so safely. You can educate yourself and, if you are white, talk to other white people about racial justice. But one of the most direct and sustainable ways to support the Black community is to shop at Black-owned businesses, many of which have also been disproportionally affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Spending money on Black-owned brands is one of the easiest things you can do right now to support the Black community, in addition to educating yourself on the issues and donating to one of the many organizations supporting anti-racism and fighting inequality. Buying from Black-owned businesses is a way of showing allyship by redistributing the wealth to close the racial wealth gap.
Supporting a Black-owned business not only shows your solidarity with the community, but it also allows the business to thrive and grow, and ensures that our economy continues to be diverse.
As protests and calls to anti-racist action continue to permeate cities and social feeds, Juneteenth is getting more attention than it has in the past. For many non-Black folks, this may even be the first year even really thinking about Juneteenth—a reality that itself suggests a need to better understand and honor Black history as a nation.
Here’s a directory of over 100 Black-owned businesses you can support in seven different categories: beauty brands, bookstores, clothing and accessories, food and drink, fitness, home décor, and gift shops and beyond compiled by New York Magazine.
Here are 36 brands owned by BIPOC (a large majority of them owned by women)—where you can purchase health and beauty products, clothing, jewelry, home decor, spices, wine, books, and so much more. So instead of placing yet another order for these things on Prime, consider shopping at one of these small businesses instead.
From technology and manufacturing to food services and media, the Top 100 companies represent the revenue and employment leaders of black business as well as its greatest innovators. The black-owned dealerships found on our Auto 40 rankings are among the most successful franchises of the top domestic and foreign car manufacturers. The BE financial services companies – the largest black banks, investment banks, asset managers and private equity firms – manage trillions of assets as they diversify the capital markets and serve the needs of individual and institutional clients from Wall Street to Silicon Valley.
These entrepreneurs and owners compiled by Forbes sell cosmetics, clothing, books, cars and financial products that you can buy.
Buy from a Black Woman (BFABW) is a Nonprofit Organization which helps bring awareness to Black Women business owners and the people who support them.
Where you choose to spend your time and money says a lot about you — and can make a powerful statement. HuffPost aggregated all of their best guides to Black-owned businesses and brands to support right now (and always) into one easy-to-browse list.
What started as pop-up market to gather Black-Owned brands in New York has grown into an online shopping destination for people to interact and shop with Black business owners.
Many Black queer businesses exist and need your solidarity more than ever. You can do more to directly support them by purchasing their products, giving them donations, offering resources or sharing their businesses through social media. Here is a list of 21 Black queer-owned businesses to get you started.
The mainstream environmental movement is dominated by white leaders, even though communities of color are disproportionately susceptible to the effects of climate change. However, the movement would not be the same today if it were not for the contribution of these brilliant activists.
Here are 10 Black-owned, sustainable small businesses that have something for everyone, from jewelry to shoes to skincare to cookies to jam.
Buying a face mask from one of these Black-owned businesses both protects you and others during the battle against the coronavirus and helps support the economy of Black entrepreneurs, which allows more independent and diverse creators to thrive.
If you’re a beauty junkie or skin care obsessive, Black-owned beauty brands are a natural place to start spending your dollars.
This list compiled by This Organic Girl is a little bit different because it’s where Black-owned business meets clean skincare. It’s not all Black-owned skincare. It’s not all Black-owned wellness. This is only Black-owned, clean skincare only.
We now have the option to choose healthy products that work to maintain the overall well-being of our hair and scalp–courtesy of the ingenious work of black creators and entrepreneurs, like the ones listed here.
GQ put together a (by no means complete) list of black-owned fashion labels and clothing stores. Whether you’re looking for a fit-worthy sweatsuit or a masterfully crafted business suit, start here next time you’re stocking up.
Here are 10 swimsuits from Black-owned businesses to buy now. Both one piece and two, solid and patterned, and in all different shapes, sizes and price points, there is a suit for every sun-lover on the list.
We should always support Black artists and artisans, but it’s especially important now, as Black-owned businesses have been hit hard by the pandemic.
Here we recognize chefs, designers, curators and other leaders who are changing their respective industries in phenomenal ways.
There are lots of amazing Etsy stores run by black entrepreneurs, and we’ve gathered 45 of the best shops — ranging from clothing lines and accessories to bedding and art — you should check out! Etsy has also recently pledged that it would donate $1 million to social justice reform and Black-led institutions as a way to stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and to show support for Black-owned Etsy shops.
Apartment Therapy compiled a long, but not comprehensive, list of Black-owned businesses around the country that create goods for your home—and are too often left off lists like this.
Right now, so many people are looking to support the Black community. There are endless ways to do so, such as donating to charities, reading anti-racism books, and amplifying Black voices. Another way is by shopping from a Black-owned vintage shop, which helps support small business owners, diversify the economy, and is more sustainable than purchasing new items.
These 15 black recipe bloggers, cookbook authors, and chefs will provide you with so much vegan inspiration! They make delicious food with plant-based ingredients. Give them a follow and check out some of their recipes!
Across the country, restaurant critics, writers, and local food lovers have been pulling together extensive lists highlighting Black-owned businesses in their respective cities. Bon Appetit wanted to share what they’re creating, from Google spreadsheets with updates on take-out/delivery options and GoFundMe links to websites that have long been celebrating Black-owned businesses and owners.
CNN Traveler shares lists of Black-owned restaurants (organized by key cities) as a resource for both residents and travelers, for when we have the opportunity to travel again.
EatOkra shows users where they can find Black-owned restaurants near them, no matter where they are. According to its website, EatOkra’s mission “is to provide a food-themed directory that encourages fellowship through one specific avenue, black food.”
The food industry has a long way to go when it comes to diversity and inclusion. One way to start? By seeing, recognizing, celebrating and supporting the Black chefs, cookbook authors and food writers who’ve contributed to the industry in your own kitchen. Here is a noncomprehensive list of 21 cookbooks by Black authors that you can buy in support.
AALBC is an extensive, respected website focused on black books and authors.
If you’re looking for a Black-owned whisky distillery or company to support, check out the folks here.
Relevant Articles and Supportive Resources:
It’s easy to turn your credit card and hotel points into cash donations.
This invaluable resource developed by Medium is continually updated to ensure each item is accurate and needed today.
If you are looking for the best places to donate your time and money in support of Black Lives Matter and other antiracist organizations fighting for police reform and social justice, we have put together a list of the ways to help.
Want to end police brutality against Black people? To paraphrase Angela Davis, it’s not enough to *not* be racist — you need to be antiracist. Feeling hopeless in the wake of another act of police brutality? Here’s what you can do.
Learn from these Black writers, activists, influencers, and community leaders on what the non Afro-Latinx community can do to help the Black community—both now and indefinitely.
EmbraceRace was founded in early 2016 by two parents (one Black, the other multiracial Black/White) who set out to create the community and gather the resources they needed (need!) to meet the challenges they face raising children in a world where race matters.
Add Your Voice!
There are so many other awesome black-owned businesses.
If you know of other black-owned businesses, creators, services, organizations or own a black business,
please share those businesses or other relevant resources in the comments section below.