This month is KOOP Radio’s Juneteenth Celebration Event Month:
Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. 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. However, this was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation – which had become official January 1, 1863.
Fast forward to the May 17, 1954 Supreme Court case ruling In Brown v. Board of Education and Bolling v. Sharpe, in which the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the “separate but equal” doctrine in Plessy v. Ferguson was unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment, which guaranteed equal treatment under the law.
Supposedly, the historic decision, was to bring about an end to federal tolerance of racial segregation, and specifically dealt with Linda Brown, a young African-American girl denied admission to her local elementary school in Topeka, Kansas, because of the color of her skin. However more than a decade later, just like with the Emancipation proclamation more than 90 years earlier, laws not followed enabled continued disenfranchisement of former slaves and people of color. Is it real progress to have progressive law changes if they are not followed and second class citizenry continues well into the 21st century?
Malcolm X frequently referred to this Supreme Court decision and our refusal to enforce it, as proof to support his conclusions which he reiterated in his 2/14/65 speech more than a decade after our highest court declared equal treatment under the law and an end to segregation as the rule of the land; he said, “…I would like to point out that the approach that was used by the administration right up until today, by even the present generation was designed skillfully to appear that they were trying to solve the problem when they actually were not. They would deal with the conditions but never the cause. They only gave us tokenism. Tokenism benefits only the few, it never benefits the masses. And the masses are the ones that have the problems, not the few.” The explosion of protests sweeping our nation for the past three weeks comes largely from such frustrations and the focus again seems more focused on the conditions rather than the causes of systemic racism.
The objective comparative conditions of blacks vs whites in the 21st century continues to be, as it has traditionally been, criminally ignored and is reflected in the most important economic indicator of needed equity, median net worth. “the median net worth of a white family being some 41x greater than that of the median black family.” This according to Ten-Solutions to Bridge the Racial Wealth Divide, April 2019, by Dedrick Asante-Muhammad, Chuck Collins, Darrick Hamilton & Josh Hoxie
KOOP Juneteenth Weekend broadcasting includes a weekend dedication on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday programmers on June 19th, 20th, and 21st by KOOP participating DJs. This week’s (and month’s) programming also features Civil Rights & Wrongs, ROCO, Bringing Light Into Darkness, and other shows are dedicating shows in celebration of Juneteenth. Thanks for making KOOP Radio the premiere community radio station in the nation.
-Pedro Gatos, KOOP Community Council