But don’t get it twisted. A brutha needs his rib tips.
Decorating for Independence Day is a fairly new tradition for me. I spent the better part of my life to date never raising an American flag. I still remember passionately asking my second grade teacher, the voluptuous Miss Neal (that’s a story for another day!) whether she was certain about the year that the Declaration of Independence was signed.
It couldn’t have been 1776, I posited, as that would have meant that the forefathers who fought for their independence from England were simultaneously denying freedom to enslaved Africans. Looking back, I can see the pride on Miss Neal’s face as little MPC pieced that one together!
It would be more than thirty years before I felt enough pride in this country to fly an American flag outside of my home, as I did in November of 2008, after our country finally did Spike Lee’s right thing and elected an African American president. My father, having been born and raised in rural Mississippi in the 1930s and 40s, always insisted that this country, these “united” states, would never see that day. He missed that historic event by just a handful of years, having succumbed to cancer in 2002. To this day, I think of Dad whenever I see President Barack Obama speak, and I’ve never been happier to tell Dad, as I call his name and those of all who paved the way for me, that he was wrong about that.
So it was following that election, after watching Barack and Michelle stroll down Pennsylvania Avenue and into the White House, that I began flying a flag and getting a little more patriotic, doing so on Memorial Day, Non-Trump Inauguration Day, and other events when it seems warranted. So naturally, I whip out the flag et al in preparation of Independence Day.
But this year, I found myself a little ambivalent as I hoisted Old Glory.
That’s because this year, our country finally got around to acknowledging our country’s true “independence day,” as we added Juneteenth to the list of national holidays.
Lest you think that it’s another Kwanzaa (that’s another story for another day!), let me assure you that some of us have been celebrating Juneteenth for quite some time, now. Rest assured that those enslaved Africans in Galveston, Texas celebrated back in 1865, after they learned that they’d technically been freed two years before and that the south had lost what was then called The War Between The States.
Read freelance writer MPC’s full column, and back him up on this! Also find out why he thinks we should retire Whitney Houston’s version of “The Star Spangled Banner,” and what he’d like to replace it with!