If you are one of the holdouts wondering why Juneteenth is a day worth celebrating, let entrepreneur, philanthropist, mother-to-the-stars and native Texan Tina Knowles-Lawson, also known as “Ms. Tina,” educate you on the holiday that originated in her home state.
“When I was a child, ever since I could remember, we always celebrated Juneteenth. It was a day that you went to the beach,” she told anchor Adriana Diaz while appearing on CBS This Morning to raise awareness of the holiday in partnership with Facebook. As People reports, Ms. Tina’s earliest memories of the holiday began in her island hometown of Galveston, Texas, “where federal troops arrived in 1865 to ensure all enslaved people were freed.”
“When I got older, I was able to go to Houston to Emancipation Park, and they have big beautiful parades there,” she added. “So, we’ve always celebrated; it’s always been a very important holiday, and all of the Black Americans there celebrate that holiday.”
That “we” includes daughters Beyoncé and Solange, who were brought up in the tradition during their Houston-based childhoods.
“I absolutely always knew that it was an honor to be a Black person. This is what my parents taught me. We should have pride and just feel very honored by that,” said Ms. Tina. “And so I was careful to impart that message to my children as well to surround them with African American art and images that they didn’t obviously see on TV or around as much as they should have.”
“That’s up to us parents to impart that knowledge to our children and pass it on. My kids celebrate the 19th of June. They always have and they always will,” she added, noting that she was taken back by the lack of knowledge about the holiday after relocating to California. In fact, show host Anthony Mason noted that an estimated 30 percent of Americans remain ignorant of its meaning. “It’s history, and it’s the truth.”
Well, excuse us while we pull up A Seat at the Table and serve ourselves a tall glass of Lemonade, and settle in for a long weekend of reflection, since, as of Wednesday Juneteenth is just one signature away from becoming a federal holiday, meaning Ms. Tina has something extra to celebrate this weekend, too.
“There’s a lot of history that’s kind of been hidden,” she explained. “And a big part of that is that there were by 1866, there were 19,000 black soldiers that fought for our freedom as well. And I think that’s important for us to know because we’ve been told differently. And it’s just one more thing of how the vital part that we played in the history of this country and helping to build this country has been changed, “ she added. “Everyone needs to know the truth, and they need to know the actual history of that day.”