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Faith of A Mustard Seed

by Barbara Woods-Washington
Barbara A. Woods Washington, M. Div.

It is a grave injustice to give misnomer to Juneteenth as a celebration to encompass the “Real Time Matters of Emancipation”.  I was suspect immediately when hearing in 2021, just 3 years ago, that the United States Senate had delivered a UNANIMOUS VOTE to make Juneteenth a National Holiday!  What?  A Senate who was on that day, and is hopelessly now, more than ever —systemically divided.  Unanimous on anything?  Unanimous on Nothing!  Nothing but, a lone Black woman, Opal Lee, who at 94 years of age broke into their cold, dead… hearts.

Facts are that, the yet and still unresolved matters of Emancipation requires pause.  Not for celebration but for clarity, for knowledge, and direction.  Pause, not for mental health, but as Claude Anderson suggests, for ‘Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome’; and for contemplation on ‘where do we “Freed Slaves” go from here —in 2024’?

To be sure, the Official Historical date of Emancipation IS January 1, 1863.  Truth be told, during the ‘Two Years’ before the Slaves in Galveston, Texas got the message, Emancipated Slaves were searching for independence with no Food, no Shelter and only the Clothing on their backs; —labeled as “Contraband” as the Union Army camps are their places of refuge. 

The “Concise Historical Atlas of The U.S. Civil War” has mapped the “Contraband Camps” as sheltering in South Carolina: 15,000 freed slaves;  in North Carolina: 17,300 freed slaves; in Virginia: 28,000 freed slaves; in the Mississippi Valley: 72,500 freed slaves; and in Louisiana: 95,000 freed slaves.

Meanwhile back in Galveston, Texas where those slaves STILL HAD NOT gotten the message of Emancipation nor that this Nation was embroiled in it’s most historical crisis: what to do with “The Freed Slave Contraband” NOW under the protection of the United States Army… and the fires of THIS Homeland Security Contraband Crisis… were great.

General Oliver O. Howard writes in his Autobiography of the impossibility of summing up all the groups and agencies and organizations of the Nation forming and working to bring aide to this all-consuming Civil War, NOW, A ‘WAR of Emancipation’.  He identifies a convention of “Freedmen’s Associations” held on July 19, 1864 as the most important to view.  From this Convention comes the reality that Congress has yet to establish any Bureau on Freedmen’s Affairs.  This Convention formulated, wrote and submitted a Petition to President Lincoln which secured the final enactment of the “Freedmen’s Bureau Law.”  Lincoln promptly approved the Freedman’s Bureau Act, yet he delayed creating the organization authorized by it.  At the moment of the assassination death of President Abraham Lincoln on April 15, 1865, the Slaves in Galveston, Texas STILL…

General Howard recalls May 12, 1865 as the day that he returned his acceptance to Mr. Stanton, Lincoln’s Secretary of War who told him that The President had decided upon him being the architect of the Freedman’s Bureau.  Stanton delivered to the General letters from correspondents, reports, and documents official and unofficial, pertaining to matters of refugees and freedmen saying, “Here, general, here’s your Bureau!”  And that I could use the officers of my Tennessee army for bureau assistants as far as I wished.

I sent General Sherman a copy of the orders of assignment to this new duty.  Sherman sent back saying, “I hardly know whether to congratulate you or not, but of one thing you may rest assured, that you possess my entire confidence, and I cannot imagine that matters that involve the future of 4,000,000 souls could be put in more charitable and more conscientious hands. So far as man can do, I believe you will; but I fear you have a Hercules task. God has limited the power of man, and though in the kindness of your heart you would alleviate all the ills of humanity, it is not in your power to fulfill one-tenth part of the expectation of those who formed the Bureau.”  NeedLESS to say that “The Slaves in Galvaston, Texas has not, STILL to this date, received word of Emancipation.

Ya’ll know I can’t end there.  Cause, the “2021 U. S. Senate delivered a UNANIMOUS VOTE” for Galveston Slaves with no knowledge of all these things in their “REAL TIME to be THE reason for the Nation AND the world to pause… to Celebrate.  Juneteenth!  Pardon me if I see something REAL ROTTEN in this cotton.  I say YES JUNETEENTH… but a day to pause for “Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome” —Health!

All inquiries By email: talk2therev@icloud.com. “Words of Life Study” Wednesdays on Zoom.  12:00 Noon & 6:30 pm CST. Join the Dialogue at my “Swellcast”.  At all times: https://SWELLCAST.com/therev

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