When I went to Galveston for Mardi Gras a few years back with my friend Taavi, I heard about a magazine called Garden and Gun; a Southern Martha Stewart kind of publication.
The south is so full of surprises. And secrets.
Back when I had my restaurant, I came into a piece of southern history that needs more attention, Juneteenth. It’s a holiday in thirty seven states.
It’s celebrated with strawberry soda and barbecues, The New York Times featured recipes in the food section today, with a little history.
It’s not a federal holiday and it should be.
Read up: “On June nineteenth, 1865, Union soldiers landed in Galveston Texas, with news the war had ended and the enslaved were now free.”
THIS WAS TWO AND A HALF YEARS AFTER THE EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION.
What took so long??
They do move slower in the south, I was just there. In April this year, I went to the Legacy Museum in Montgomery, Alabama with my besties.
We all read Just Mercy last summer by Bryan Stevens, and we were compelled to go.
The experience is in two parts; the museum learning journey through the history of our systemic racism (which was brutal) and below, the monument.
Every one of those tomb like hanging pillars represent lynchings.
Not one, but several murders are represented on each rusted metal box, suspended from on high.
The experience was raw, exposed and heartbreaking.
There were history lessons along the walls. Crime stories.
I’m sharing some from the 1900’s because I was born in the 1900’s. Almost in my lifetime.
This is our history. Land of the free?
1919 with an audience.
Ingrained into the fabric of my life. My homeland, Pennsylvania.
I have so many more and every time I read them, I am gutted.
Here’s the thing.
Racism in America is systemic, it cannot be avoided, it’s not new.
White people, It is here, sitting in all of us.
We are all racist. I see it in myself, in how I was raised and educated, it is in our systems, and as a result, in me.
I know I can do better. We have all got to do better.
We need to see it, admit it, and be that change.
Let’s talk about it. That’s how we do it, we talk.
And maybe a little food.