Black L.A. has a few stories of liberation to tell on Juneteenth

·1 min read
a grid of Image Juneteenth portraits surrounded by a colorful border that repeats the word "Juneteenth"
(Lettering by Jeanetta Gonzales / For The Times; photos Bukunmi / For The Times, Marc Cortes / For The Times, Kayla James / For The Times, Okay Aire, Momodu Mansaray))

We celebrate to spread the word. Juneteenth has dissemination baked into its DNA. The beautiful thing about June 19 — the most joyous of days — is the energy of discovery. We hear. We remember. We get active.

What could it have felt like to hear the message when it finally got to Galveston, Texas, in 1865? “The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.” There’s a specific feeling that comes when the ears receive good news. The taste of freedom affects the body physiologically.

To commemorate the occasion of Juneteenth, we decided to share some stories of liberation. Nothing can quite replicate the nourishment of reading the history, of mining the records of the past. But unpacking what was isn’t the only way to achieve clarity. Sometimes, what you feel can move you to act like what you learn. Here, we’ve asked some of our faves to share with us some of the moments when they feel most liberated.

We hope you’ll take those with you as you make your way to the streets. We’ll see you at the festivities — we’ll be in Leimert Park, the Mecca of Black life in L.A., reflecting on why we celebrate.

Pull up. And join us as we spread the good news.

Ian F. Blair

Editor in Chief

colorful lettering of the word "Juneteenth"
(Jeanetta Gonzales / For The Times)

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.