Short Story: Juneteenth A Story Of Love and Freedom

Happy Juneteenth! Please enjoy this short story I created in honor it.

June 19, 1865

The people lingered on the plantation unsure of what the day would bring. Many fidgeted with uneasiness and others were planning on the best way to escape should the day bring about terror as done before. They had been told early that morning that there would be an announcement come noon.

Neva, a young slave girl, stood holding her daughter close to her body. Her skin was the color of dark chocolate, her body was short and petite, she had a long braid going down the center of her back, and dark eyes filled with strength. She prayed that this would not be the last day she would see her daughter. Each day they had together was a blessing from the universe. Many of her children were sold long ago. If the day should be their last, she had prepared her well to survive, but that would not ease the hurt.

“What’s happening, Mama,” her daughter Betty asked, looking just like a mini version of her. 

Just then, a man rode up on a horse bringing many others with him. The slave master stood on the porch with his wife, both faces were twisted in anger. 

“Shhhh baby, let’s hear what’s going on,” Neva ordered. 

The man got off his horse and looked at all of the people. It was a shame that even after being free for over two years, these were the last to find out. It was terrible how that information was withheld from them. Some say the messenger was killed and others say it was done deliberately to get another crop of cotton. Either way it was just plain wrong. 

“I come with news from General Granger,” he spoke loud enough for them to hear. 

Murmurs could be heard throughout the crowd. What could he possibly have for them to hear?

“As per General Order 3, The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired laborer.” He began to read off the paper.

Gasps could be heard throughout the crowd. Many cried, many shouted, and many stood in disbelief. Their dreams and prayers had finally been answered. 

“What’s going on mama,” Betty asked her mother. 

“We’re free baby,” she lifted her up as much as she could with tears falling down her face.

People started rushing off to get their belongings. Many unsure of where they would go next, but knew the plantation life was not for them. 

“Where are you going,” the slave master yelled, “There’s nothing out there for you people!” 

“That may be, but there’s nothing here for us either,” a man named William yelled before walking off with the others. He was a large muscular man with skin the color of molasses. 

As Neva and Betty gathered their belongings, they heard music playing. Stopping to look outside of their shack they saw people gathering around in celebration. Food was being brought out of houses and combined to make a big spread for everyone. 

“Can we join them mama,” Betty looked up with hopeful eyes. 

“Of course, they’ll always be our family,” Neva smiled down with tears still in her eyes. 

They both ran out and joined in the laughter and dancing. 

Soon Neva felt strong arms around her. Turning she saw William with that smile she had come to love. They had been quietly seeing each other for quite some time now and shared many meals together as a family. 

“We’re free now baby, you know what that means,” he asked. 

With her words lost, she merely shook her head. 

“Today we finally get married and then me, you, and my new daughter is headed north to start our new lives.”

And get married they did, surrounded by all of their newly freed brothers and sisters. 

When it was time to leave, William stood embracing Neva and Betty. 

“We’re finally free,” she whispered. 

“So we don’t have to live here anymore,” Betty asked fearfully. 

“No baby, we’re free,”William lifted her up and tickled her, “but there’s still a lot of work to be done.”

With one last look, they then joined the others walking up the road to a new freeish way of living.

Note:

This short contains the exact beginning of General Order 3 that was instructed to be read announcing the end of slavery in Texas. Also, the names listed in this short, Neva, Betty, and William are all relatives of mine. My grandparents and mother. Although they were not actually there I thought it would be cool to incorporate their names in the story. Let me know in the comments what you think and if it interests you enough to want to see more shorts like this on here. Thank you for reading!

14 thoughts on “Short Story: Juneteenth A Story Of Love and Freedom

  1. This was a brilliant piece dear. I’m African and I loved it. I would love to read more of this and learn more about my African American brothers and sisters. Great job 👏👌

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so very much. Yesterday really inspired me to create more like this centered around different time periods to spread the message. I love the fact that you want to learn more. That’s exactly how I feel about my brothers and sister in Africa. We’re all distance relatives and it’s time for a connection 💜.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You couldn’t have said it any better. It’s time to fix the divide that’s been caused between us. Looking forward to more exciting posts from you Kaya,❤️

    Like

  3. This story has the makings of a book around Juneteenth. I always love when a story make me care about the characters. Since these are based on your relatives you can tell their story based around Juneteenth. Just some suggestions…FYI August 13th is #RBG100, the 100th year since Red, Black and Green were designated our flag.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your suggestions. It’s been on my brain for a bit to turn this into a book. Although I’ve pulled away from so much surrounding being slaves because our people history didn’t start as slaves and that’s all that’s being shown, I do feel that when we control the narrative we can create stories in a beautiful way that still put the information . I have to be clear before someone reads this and misunderstand what I’m saying, I’m not saying that everyone should forget about slavery or anything in that nature, I’m saying as a mother I want my children to know that slavery isn’t their fully history. I’m definitely open to turning this one and many others into books though, especially after being raised by some of the strongest unapologetic people I’ve ever known.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. To me this is more about what happened after slavery ended. I want to know what happened when they left that plantation? Where did they go? Did things get better? Were there any regrets for leaving? How did they make it when they left with no money, no education, couldn’t read, couldn’t write? Did some people stay on the plantation? How did the plantation owners fare after Juneteenth? Did they become different people for better or worse?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Now that’s what I would like to tell. The ups, the downs, challenges, triumphs, everything that happened after that made them the people they were.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. For what it’s worth my Great-Great-Grandfather has a story that takes place in Georgia during 1870. It has trauma involved in it. Knowing I have ancestors who could not read and write yet were able to make it through to the point I am here today should be inspiration to anybody. The trick is turning it into a story. You have inspired me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can honestly say speaking with you and a few other people have given me the motivation to push more stories out. They need to be told. Especially the ones of your Great-Great- Grandfather and others. My father keeps telling me to tell his story. I have to be in a good place to tell it correctly. He was convicted of 3 first degree murders and sentenced to life. His case became the first ever case to be overturned due to the exclusion of expert testimony. If that hadn’t happened I wouldn’t be here today. That only makes me to wonder about his life before that and all the things he went to that led to that moment.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. See that is exactly what I mean!!! People think they are going through something now. They don’t have any idea how much people have gone through for us to be here now. You’re starting to make me think there is an entire genre of stories that are waiting to be told. The Urban Lit took off because of Vickie Stringer. “Juneteenth Lit” OOOOOOOO!!!!! Because we don’t know what it took for us to be here now.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. There really is and people don’t understand how much the story’s need to be told. There is a very good author named D. Camille. She has a Fall Black In Love series that document stories like this. So far she’s written about a couple in black wall street, Mound Bayou, Mississippi, and a couple in Detroit. Lots of great information told in a way that really connect you to the characters who are all strong and proud of their heritage.

        Liked by 1 person

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