On Juneteenth has been on my Wish List at Audible since it was published last year. I read a lot of African American lit anyway so I figured since it’s Juneteenth right now, just do it. I’m glad I did.
by Annette Gordon Reed
Read by Karen Chilton 3h 44m
Rating: 8/ memoir-US history
It was quite shocking when I first learned about the events of Juneteenth and I thought that with this book I was going to get more about the history. I knew Galveston and the landing of the US ship. Nope – the book is not about the origin of the holiday. And I knew how slaves got to Texas in spite of slavery being against the law in Mexico which at that time included Texas.
But Reed was after a different story. She’s a native Texan and she’s Black with a family history going back in Texas more than a couple generations, so this is a natural book for her. And a lot of it is a memoir of Reed’s childhood in a small East Texas town of Conroe where White Supremacy reigned. The town is 7 miles west of Montgomery, Alabama. Reed was the first to integrate her elementary school at age 6 but other than that and family stories there’s not a lot of memoir material.
There’s more about racial issues in Texas in general. Much of this is really interesting to me because the closest I ever came to living in a slave state was when I lived in Brownsville, Texas between 1978 and 1980. But in Texas, after Reconstruction, there were Jim Crow laws as well as “extra-legal violence.” The city of Conroe was a particularly harsh town for Black people,
The book is a compilation of 6 essays which don’t have to be well joined. But they seem to wander around.be looking for meaningful substance. The writing is wonderful though and the subject matter is interesting so I’m very glad I read it.
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