June 19th is now America's newest federal holiday -- and the first one to acknowledge slavery, our country's original sin. It's Juneteenth.
On June 19th in 1865, enslaved people in Texas were notified by Union Civil War soldiers that they were free. With President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation two years earlier, slavery had been abolished. Those Black folks in Texas were free -- and they didn't know it. Texas is the birthplace of Juneteenth celebrations.
My dad was born in Texas. When I was a youngster growing up in South Central Los Angeles, Daddy had an interesting collection of 78s -- records -- and I would listen to some of them on my kiddie record player. Daddy's tastes went from the jazz of Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie to the vocals of Sarah Vaughan and 1940s Paramount Pictures movie star Betty Hutton. He also loved Louis Jordan. In 1940, Jordan recorded a swingin' tune to celebrate what is now a federal holiday.
Give a listen to Jordan's JUNETEENTH JAMBOREE.