Stirs Celebrations of History, Culture, Self Determination and Highlights Need for New UHURU
“To embrace the ideas of Malcolm X is to embrace the ideas of American Internationalism and the ideas of African Internationalism are opposite and contradictory to the ideals of Americanism. The ideals of African Internationalism promote freedom from oppression and injustice. These ideals promote freedom and independence.” – Omali Yeshitela
The impact of Juneteenth has expanded beyond just celebrating freedom to include broader messages and ultimate goals of All African people development and complete community empowerment.
The Uhuru Movement
The Uhuru Movement is a worldwide organization, under the leadership of African People’s Socialist Party, uniting African people as one people for liberation, social justice, self-reliance and economic development.
Understanding that Black people every-where are part of the African nation, the Uhuru Movement has built worldwide organizations for economic and political self-reliance. Uhuru is a Swahili term that means “freedom”.
In every region of the world, the Uhuru unites African people to defend the rights of African people everywhere.
Awareness of Uhuru is Houston will be fully showcased on Juneteenth (June 17) at the 5th annual Juneteenth Freedom and Music Festival at 3707 Brill Street in the 5th Ward Community Garden from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Leading the list of digniﬁed speakers is Omali Yeshitela, chairman and founder of the African People’s Socialist Party (APSP) and honorable leader of the Uhuru movement. Yeshitela is one of the most profound and respected spokesman on the African and Black issues in the community around the country.
The celebratory event is sponsored by the All African People’s Development Project’s (AAPDEP) 5th Ward Garden and the International People’s Democrative Uhuru Movement (InPDUM) “This will also be a day of serious discussion on the plight of African people all over the world,” said festival spokesperson Omawale Keﬁng. “In 2017, we are are still not a free people. Our dire economic situation and the deadly relationship in the Black community with the police throughout this country attest to this.”
According to Keﬁng, one of the major goals of Juneteenth Not yet Uhuru is to build the One Africa! One Nation! Marketplace! – a permanent venue where African people can promote their own economic development enterprises.
“Equally important is this will be a day of economic development for the Black community,” he said. “It will be a day that we shop among our-selves and our resources stay in our community.”
The event also features African drumming and dance, Gospel, Rap, Hip-Hop, Spoken Word artists, arts and crafts vendors and food native to the Black and African communities.
Also, in addition to fun and games for the kids, there will be a fantastic line-up of music led by “Tighten Up” fame R&B artist Archie Bell and super Reggae Band Idiginis and R&B big band Ray Williams and the Major tones, Precision, along with the Hardest Working Man in Show Business with the James Brown Review.
About Uhuru Leader
Chairman Yeshitela (then known as Joseph Waller) has never stopped ﬁghting for freedom for African people everywhere. Mobilized in his youth by anti-colonial movements around the world and the struggle for Black liberation inside the U.S., Yeshitela dedicated his life to uniting and liberating Africa and African people everywhere.
In the heat of revolutionary struggle and during his early years as a political prisoner, Yeshitela was driven to discover the reasons why Black people all over the world are impoverished and oppressed. Yeshitela developed the political theory of African Internationalism that under-stands the world through the eyes of the African working class.
Yeshitela contends that the leading force of struggle is the African and oppressed working class throughout the world against “parasitic capitalism,” embodied in U.S. and Western imperialism built on enslavement, genocide and colonialism.
In 1972, Yeshitela formed the African People’s Socialist Party which he chairs. He built the worldwide Uhuru Movement and the African Socialist International with branches now active in the U.S., Europe, the Caribbean and on the continent of Africa. It was founded at a time when the Black Liberation Movement had been dismantled and destroyed as a movement and in a climate of political terror and brutal repression.
Aims and Objectives
The aims and objectives of the APSP-USA are to lead the struggle of the African working class and oppressed masses against U.S. capitalist-colonialist domination and all the manifestations of oppression and exploitation that result from this relationship. The Party recognizes that the particular character of the oppression of African people within U.S. borders is domestic or internal colonialism. Leading the struggle to end the system of domestic colonialism and smash the U.S. capitalist-colonialist state is the immediate task of the African People’s Socialist Party-USA and the African working class in the U.S.
Many of the most critical and legendary campaigns of the African community over the past 40 years have been led by Chairman Omali and the Uhuru Movement.
Throughout the years, Chairman Omali launched numerous successful African-controlled economic institutions such as Spear Graphics and the popular Uhuru Bakery Café in Oakland in the 1980s. The Party’s Uhuru Foods and Pies and Uhuru Furniture Stores are institutions that have enjoyed tremendous community-based success and support for more than 25 years.
The Chairman built Uhuru House centers in St Petersburg and Oakland, and the TyRon Lewis Community Gym, Uhuru Radio and UhuruNews.com based at Party headquarters.
Yeshitela speaks to his growing base of Party organizations, members and supporters around the world. He writes and actively leads the worldwide movement for the liberation of Africa and African people everywhere.
Also appearing and speaking at the celebration will be Dr. Aisha Fields, the International Director of AAPDEP and Kalambayi Andenet, InPDUM president, along with other activists.
Houston’s Emancipation Park and Juneteenth
Houston is celebrating the abolition of slavery in the United States of America:
154 years since the Emancipation Proclamation
152 years since Texas slaves were granted freedom
145 years of Emancipation Park Area Freedom Celebrations
& 44 years of Central Houston Freedom Parades.
On Saturday, June 17, 2017 from 10 -11a m marks the kick off of the following events relating to Juneteenth.
First, Marching up Emancipation Avenue in “The world’s longest running Juneteenth Freedom Parade” that stretches from Texas Southern University to Emancipation Park.
The JUNETEENTH PARADE, founded in 1973, by Rev. C. Anderson Davis and the National Emancipation Association, is the longest continuously running parade honoring African American freedom in history.
This is a people’s parade, featuring anyone who wants to participate, walkers, strollers, wheelchairs, bikes will be joined by Floats, Western Wagons, Trail Riders & Marching Bands from Houston area high schools and colleges. This year’s parade is hosted by the Friends of Emancipation Park
Also From 10am-5pm The City of Houston will host the Emancipation Park
From 1-3pm: There will be free workshops hosted by Friends of Emancipation Park: including information on Healthy Living , a Free Legal Clinic and a Genealogy Workshop
On Monday, The City of Houston’s Emancipation Park 145th JUNETEENTH CELEBRATION will get underway and will include The City of Houston Emancipation Park
Re-dedication Ceremony featuring Mayor Sylvester Turner, and other key city, county, state and national officials. Also, local organizations and many special guests will be followed by a continuation of the City’s Juneteenth Arts and Entertainment Festival Celebration in the park.
In recognition of the historical significance of Emancipation Park, the City’s celebration of the park’s redevelopment has been rescheduled to Juneteenth weekend 2017.
The Emancipation Park Conservancy and the Houston Parks and Recreation Department will host a celebration of the park redevelopment with a ceremony and festivities on Saturday, June 17, 2017.
The Founding of Emancipation Park
The end of the Civil War resulted in a dramatic reorganization of society throughout the former Confederacy, including new freedom for the slaves. President Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation and published it on January 1, 1863, but it did not reach Texas for two years. It wasn’t until General Granger proclaimed it in Galveston on June 19, 1865 that Texas got the news.
The anniversary of the day took on festive traditions and a new name: it came to be known as Juneteenth.
Over the next few years, African-American populations across Texas collected money to buy property dedicated to Juneteenth celebrations.
In Houston, the effort was led by the Reverend Jack Yates, a Baptist minister and former slave. Rev. Yates is remembered today through the high school with his name and his home, restored as part of the collection of historical buildings in Sam Houston Park. His church, Antioch Baptist, and Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church formed the Colored People’s Festival and Emancipation Park Association. In 1872, they pooled $800 to put down on ten acres of open land as home for their Juneteenth celebration. In honor of their freedom, they named it Emancipation Park.
Twentieth Century at Emancipation Park
In 1918, it had been acquired by the City of Houston. Racial segregation was the law of the land, and Emancipation Park was the only municipal park African-Americans could use at that time. In 1939, Miss Annette Finnigan, a veteran of the push for women’s suffrage, donated property to the city for a second one, which became Finnigan Park.
Also in 1939, the WPA undertook the construction of a community center building in Emancipation Park. Designed by William Ward Watkin, the fine new facility was dedicated at the Juneteenth Celebration on June 18-19, 1939 and now provides greater recreational and educational programs for the users of the park. In 1976, the Association for Study of Afro-American Life and History donated a plaque dedicated to Rev. Yates, which is displayed at the entrance to the community center.
And On Into the Twenty-first…
Over the years, many improvements have taken place in the park, resulting in a fine recreational facility. In 1998, the Parks to Standards program resulted in extensive renovations. In 2013, a plan was undertaken to improve the community center and swimming facility and to build a new building and a grand entranceway. Construction is underway.
Today, Emancipation Park boasts tennis courts, a basketball court, a large combined softball/football field, a picnic area, exercise equipment, a playground, a huge swimming pool, and, of course, the community center. It is surrounded by the busy city, and is in constant use. Many families celebrate Juneteenth there every year, as well as birthdays, family reunions, and picnics together in the great outdoors.
Set aside to commemorate events of the Nineteenth Century, Emancipation Park continues to serve its neighborhood today.
It stands as a monument to the pride and hope that the founding members of the Colored People’s Festival and Emancipation Park Association felt as they stood with their backs to slavery and their faces turned to the future.
In the heart of the Brazos is some great African-American heritage and culture. It is that history that drives the celebration of Juneteenth with picnics, parades, family reunions, pageants, barbeques and games.
This year, the celebration will be Saturday, June 24, from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p,m. at the Visitor Center Complex, Conference Center and Education Center within Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historical Park off Highway 105 between Navasota and Brenham on FM 1155.
It will merge the present with the past history of the Brazos Valley with a new program for Washington-on-the-Brazos State Park and will include artifact exhibits, art displays, prominent athletes and historians and genealogists, living history Buffalo soldiers, cowboys, choir performances and more.
Some of the event highlights include appearances by Hugh McElroy, the first Black football players to start in a game for Texas A&M University in 1970; and Dr Andrew Torget, professor of History at University of North Texas and author of Seeds of Empire: Cotton, Slavery, and the Transformation of the Texas Borderlands, 1800-1850.
Other guests and entertainment will include Mt. Rose Missionary Baptist Church Men’s Choir; Chappell Hill Historical Society displays of the works of African-American artist Rev. Johnnie Swearingen; the Buffalo Soldiers Heritage Program; and the Prairie View Trail Riders Association.
The program is free and standard tour tickets for Independence Hall, Barrington Farm and the Star of the Republic Museum are available.
For additional details about the Brazos event, call Jon Failor at 936-878-2214, extension 224.
By: Darwin Campbell