Home » Celebrating The Black History Of Memorial Day

Celebrating The Black History Of Memorial Day

by NewsOne

UPDATED: 9:00 a.m. ET, May 27, 2024

With the topic of Black history increasingly coming under attack, both at the educational level and particularly among Republican-led state legislatures, it’s important to keep things in their proper perspectives as this year’s installment of Memorial Day takes place.

The federal holiday that is devoted to honoring America’s fallen soldiers who defended the U.S. as servicemen and women in the armed forces also marks the day that officially kicks off summer. The seasonal celebration is typically rung in with cookouts, picnics and fun in the sun.

And, to some of our delight, it represents the return of white shoes, pants and dresses.

So it’s understandable how some people might lose sight of what the actual Memorial Day holiday is all about and be tempted to only focus on fun for the holiday.

However, a deeper look at the annual observation can also serve as a reminder of the very real Black history behind the Memorial Day federal holiday.

For instance, did you know that African Americans were the first to celebrate the holiday? While it’s unclear if they were wearing white, we do know that recently freed slaves founded the holiday in 1865 in Charleston, South Carolina.

According to BlackAmericaWeb, David Blight, a history professor at Yale University, said that “Decoration Day” was held in Charleston to honor fallen soldiers from the Union Army in the North, though other cities have refuted his findings.

More from BlackAmericaWeb:

The Civil War ended on April 9, 1865, with the Union victorious over its Confederate foes. In order to celebrate the victory and honor the dead, on May 1 of that year around 10,000 freed Black men and women gathered in historic Hampton Park.

The group placed flowers on the graves of unknown soldiers, a practice held often in times of war. The event caught the attention of the nation, and it was largely understood by Whites to be a celebration of the…

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