I wrote recently that one of the most important American concepts is the notion of "Independence". It's why we celebrate the 4th of July and not the date we won the Revolutionary War or the date the Constitution was ratified. We were free from England's grip on the day we declared our independence. But what is the second most important American concept? I'd argue that it's the notion of "Emancipation".
emancipate (v.) - To set free, especially from legal, social, or political restrictionsWhen we emancipate we fine-tune democracy, we expand independence, and we recognize that, as long as a single citizen is unable to experience liberty, we're all diminished. Thus, over the course of American history, we've had to emancipate many times:
Oxford American Dictionary
- January 1, 1863 - Date of the Emancipation Proclamation
- July 9, 1869 - Date the 14th Amendment was ratified ("Equal Protection")
- August 18, 1920 - Date the 19th Amendment was ratified ("Women's Suffrage")
- July 2, 1964 - Date of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
(Thanks to Granny @ Is American Burning and her post on Women's Equality Day. It got me thinking along these lines.)
Reciprocal and all that.
Anyway, haven't seen you in a while frog. Can you send a link for Kommandos?
thanks for the great thoughts...
On a related note, I recently participated in a Zogby poll and they asked questions about a national holiday or day of recognition to honor the people who died in 9/11. They also asked if I thought 9/11 was historically as important as Pearl Harbor. (I did not). Anyway, it appears that there is a push to make this a holiday too, although I haven't read that anywhere.
Racism, sexism, hatred strips everyone of dignity - both the victim and the person filled with hate. MLK was on the road to restoring dignity to all Americans.
Thanks for the post!
Lily, I can't get to The Blue Republic any longer--rejects my IP and sends me to an error page. (Spamlist, AT&T thing, I don't know...). Anyway that's why I haven't been around.
AZGoddess, indeed it is, but that's what make such a day vibrant, right? We're always refining.
Pekka, I'm surprised as well. I mean...what does Columbus really have to do with North America? If we were going to have a day to honor the discoverer of America by Europeans, then should it really be "Leif Ericson Day"?
Diva, you're welcome. I too would like MLK Day to be something more than it is. The Frogette mentioned that MLK was an enabler and that it's the struggle that should be memorialized. Not the man.
Columbus Day has been downgraded in most of California. San Francisco, with its large Italian population, still has a parade but the holiday passes unnoticed for the most part
And after I wrote that mean poem about them and everything.
SA, thanks for that bit of information. I'd heard of Juneteenth but didn't know what it was about. Still though, it's the wrong time of year. We don't need a holiday in June.
Posts like this one make me think I should shut down and just read! Excellent, excellent!! I always got the impression that MLK day was created more to placate blacks, since we had all these "white people" days, and no "black ones." I am opposed to "Black History" month for the same reason. Sooner or later, some dingbat is gonna ask for "White History" month!:) I honestly believe that rather than honoring blacks with those two days, we are doing them a disservice, for we're leaving the impression "you're only important on these dates", and that's no good. It seems every state has an MLK highway or street. Yes, he was a great, great leader - but is this really what his movement was all about? I think not.
I too would prefer that we all remember why we needed a civil rights struggle and why we still need a civil rights struggle.