The People’s War Radio Show, Episode #64: Juneteenth Not Yet Uhuru: Africans fight for control of history, salute African heroes

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On June 17, 2021 President Joseph R. Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act making Juneteenth a national holiday. The establishment of Juneteenth as a federal holiday in the United States marks a particular moment in the African struggle over the power of history and remembrance in the US with international implications. Some people in the mainstream have celebrated this as a historical landmark but many in the African working class masses have met this with a mixture of skepticism and outright rejection. They see it as an empty gesture that avoids the meaningful political struggles waging.

The colonial narration of history suggests that Juneteenth celebrates the bestowing of freedom on Africans in Texas by US Army General Gordon Granger in Galveston, Texas on June 19, 1865. However, as today's guest notes, Africans were not given freedom, Africans took their freedom!

Juneteenth actually emerged from a long tradition of African holidays created in opposition to colonial-capitalist powers and as a direct antagonism towards the colonial slave holding class and their descendants. There were a host of other celebrations. Africans celebrated the Haitian Revolution and in Virginia and the Carolinas, African flauntingly celebrated Surrender Day. Africans were historically ridiculed, attacked, and jailed for their public festivals. This included the earliest of Juneteenth Festivals.

In this episode we talk to an organizer of the Omowale Kefing Juneteenth Freedom Festival, also known as Juneteenth Not Yet Uhuru, from Houston, Texas, Chiwoniso Luzolo.

Some topics discussed are:

  • The 2021 Omowale Kefing Juneteenth Freedom Festival
  • The late African hero Omowale Kefing and his mother Gwen Archie
  • The meaning of Juneteenth Not Yet Uhuru
  • The continued struggle of Africans in Texas for Freedom including the problems of gentrification, food apartheid and Covid-19
  • The All African People's Development and Empowerment Project programs: Project Black Ankh and the Marcus Garvey Youth Programs
  • Education and history in the hands of Black people

In the spirit of Juneteenth Not Yet Uhuru, we also showcase some great music and a public tribute to Omowale Kefing. This is the first public Juneteenth Not Yet Uhuru without Kefing.

Chiwoniso Luzolo is a member of the African People's Socialist Party and serves as the Information and Education Coordinator and Secretary for the All African People’s Development and Empowerment Project. She coordinates the Marcus Garvey Youth Program where she is developing a curriculum for African children and parents. Chiwoniso works with the Gwen Archie Community Garden in the 5th Ward of Houston, Texas, the location of the annual Juneteenth Not Yet Uhuru festivals.

The People's War radio show is produced by WBPU 96.3 FM "Black Power 96" in St. Petersburg, Florida. It is hosted by Dr. Matsemela Odom and Muambi Tangu, bringing an African Internationalist perspective to the important issues of our world.

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