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The Maundy Monday Newsletter - This Week in History June 19 - 25.
Happy Juneteenth, everyone. We are just getting used to this national holiday, which was signed into law by President Joe Biden on June 17, 2021.
Juneteenth is the celebration of the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. On June 19, 1865, United States Army Major General Gordon Granger proclaimed to the enslaved people of Texas that they were free. It would have had millions of likes if it were an Instagram reel.
In the beginning, Juneteenth celebrations occurred in the South, and it wasn’t until the Great Migration, when six million African Americans moved from the South to the North, Midwest, and Northeast, did the commemoration spread.
Prohibited by using public spaces, celebrations tended to be held in Churches or near water, where people gathered to eat, fish, and play a random game of baseball. Nothing says freedom more than baseball.
Texas was the first state to recognize Juneteenth back in 1939. It wasn’t until the early 2000s that other states got around to the same idea.
What do you have planned for today? Does it involve potato salad?
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Okay, let's highlight what else happened this week. Here's what I got:
1. The United States Constitution was enacted on June 21, 1788. New Hampshire became the ninth state to ratify the Constitution, making it the supreme law of the land. Check out the ranking of the amendments so far.
2. W. E. B Du Bois became the first African American of the National Institute of Letters on June 22, 1943. The author and teacher who founded the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) entered this prestigious organization I had never heard of. I learned last year that you don’t pronounce the NAACP with the word double in it.
3. The comic strip, Garfield, debuted on June 19, 1978. Jim Davis’s Guinness Book of World Record for the most syndicated comic strip about a cat named Garfield debuted in 41 newspapers. Davis grew up on a farm with twenty-five cats and named the main character after his grandfather, whose middle name was Garfield.
For all you Grover Cleveland fans out there, this is a big week for the big guy. Grover Cleveland passed away on June 24, 1908, at 71.
Cleveland was the 22nd and 24th president of the United States, making him the only president to leave the White House and return. In June 1886, he married a much younger woman, Frances Folsom, making him the only president to marry while in the White House.
For some reason, I have written a lot on Cleveland.
To peruse some of my earlier insights, check out where I ranked his presidency.
I wrote about his birthday back in March 2021.
Anonymous was gone over the weekend, so I spent time yesterday doing a bunch of chores. I vacuumed, weeded, and brushed Blue, who produced so much hair that we created another dog. I was busy. So, Juneteenth will be a day of doing very little and playing nine holes of golf at 5:15.
Have a great week!