It’s always ambivalence.
That’s the general feeling I associate with America. Take “General Order Number 3”, the official document associated with Juneteenth which says in part:
"The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere."
There’s always that parting shot,
“…they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.”
It’s the loophole that Jim Crow and The Black Codes ride through.
And remember, The Emancipation Proclamation freed the enslaved of the Confederacy on January 1, 1863. Also keep in mind that there were Union states where black citizens remained enslaved until the passage of the 13th Amendment.
So, let’s recap: Two and a half years after The Emancipation Proclamation which preserved slavery in Union territory, the enslaved of Texas were informed that they had been freed, conditional on a broad interpretation of their “good behavior” (check out that other loophole in the 13th Amendment).
Hence the source of my ambivalence.
My daughter has a Juneteenth poster somewhere around here inscribed with the tag #freeish
Here’s to a day when we’re all free.