As a resident of Long County, I was initially encouraged to see the headline “Ludowici planning Juneteenth Jubilee.” As I scanned through the article, however, I was appalled by the sheer ignorance of the comments by Mayor Pro Tem Mary Hamilton. Juneteenth celebrations originated in Texas to mark the anniversary of June 19, 1865, when news of General Order No. 3 reached Galveston, freeing the last remaining slaves more than 2½ years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed by President Abraham Lincoln on Jan. 1, 1863. The spirit of Juneteenth was intended to commemorate and celebrate religious ceremonies, spirituals, customs and traditions. It is doubtful that the founders hoped the holiday would serve to, as Mayor Pro Tem Hamilton stated, encourage black youth “to give up drugs and going to jail.”
By making the assumption that African-American children are predisposed to deviancy and criminality, are we not behaving in the exact same manner as the individuals who enslaved these individuals’ ancestors? Perhaps during Fire Prevention Week, we could hold events for the Caucasian citizens of Long County, with activities designed to educate the white population on the perils of manufacturing methamphetamines. But that would not be proper, would it?