(Sherry A. Wells, June 23, 2019)
Royal Oak Township, MI- Saturday, June 22, was the annual celebration of Juneteenth, hosted by the Friends of Royal Oak Township, Inc.
The program opened with an African Drum Call.
Nanou Djiapo Cultural Arts, Inc. performed more drumming and energetic dancing in between other presentations, with a dance lesson for participation by audience members.
As more fully explained by Cheikh Mbacké, ACSW, Juneteenth is the African-American celebration of when their enslaved ancestors in Texas finally learned about the Emancipation Proclamation—over 2 years later. He pointed out that President Lincoln’s Proclamation did not apply to slavery in the North and West, including those persons held as property in Detroit.
Dramatic readings by Sisters of the Earth Entertainment more fully fleshed out the lives of those enslaved, including an African Queen, who maintained she was always free, at least within herself.
One of the Sisters wrote a piece, powerfully portrayed by a young man, about those serving their country in the U. S. military for the freedom of democracy, yet receiving little of that freedom or democracy upon returning home.
Charles Jackson, of Michigan State University, closed the afternoon with Health of the Black Family.
He listed three major plagues of high blood pressure, heart conditions and diabetes and asserted the connections with the food and liquid intakes. Bodies are mostly water and need to be kept hydrated and good fats are needed to provide cushions around organs and limbs. He urged the intake of vegetables most. He was pictured in the colorful, glossy program booklet with a classroom full of students in the Ferndale Elementary School after a nutrition session.
Learn more about Friends of Royal Oak Township on Facebook.