Like many other things in U.S. History that are fabricated to fit white America’s agenda, Memorial Day is another one to add to the never-ending list.
Did you know that the first Memorial Day observance was actually started by former enslaved Africans in Charleston, SC in 1865 to honor and provide a proper burial to union soldiers (who were prisoners of war) that lost their lives in the Civil War?
Historically, we’re taught that Memorial Day is about remembering the veterans who’ve fought for our freedoms as Americans, however it is not common knowledge that the first Memorial Day celebration on record was in fact started by Black people.
According to the College of Charleston, a grand gesture of care, the emancipated Black community exhumed the mass grave of roughly 260 Union soldiers in April 1865 and reinterred each soldier in their own grave in a new cemetery they built with a tall white-washed fence.
To our brothers and sisters who fought and sacrificed their lives for the people (willingly and unwillingly), we remember, honor and pay our respect.
“I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.” – James Baldwin