New York Post

A Perfect Day To Cheer Black Success


AMERICA marks our second Juneteenth national holiday Monday. Some will focus on the severe pain and death that slavery inflicted on blacks between 1619 and 1865. It would be far more useful, however, to celebrate so much that black Americans have accomplish­ed since the original Juneteenth liberated the last of some 4 million emancipate­d slaves.

That joyous day arrived on June 19, 1865. Having vanquished the Confederac­y that April, victorious Union Army soldiers reached Galveston, Texas, and that final group of slaves unaware the South had fallen.

The men in blue uniforms read General Order No. 3 to people who, until then, were private property: “All slaves are free.” Henceforth, these black men, women and children belonged to themselves, not others.

Republican-led Reconstruc­tion efforts initially offered blacks much hope. Some former slaves represente­d the South in Congress. Alas, Democrats got the upper hand as Reconstruc­tion faltered, and they dug their heels into black necks. But despite the oppression of Democrat-enforced Jim Crow laws and the terror imposed by the Democrat-founded and -manned Ku Klux Klan, blacks capitalize­d on the opportunit­ies that America offered, first grudgingly and then with increasing enthusiasm. Since the Civil Rights Act of 1964 torpedoed Democrat-operated systemic racism in the South, millions of blacks have flourished across America.

Booker T. Washington rose

“Up from Slavery,” as his fascinatin­g memoir details. Born his master’s possession in 1856, Washington was free but spectacula­rly poor after the first Juneteenth. At one point, he slept under a raised sidewalk in Richmond, Va.

Washington soon educated himself and then others. He founded Alabama’s Tuskegee Institute on July 4, 1881. It was among the first historical­ly black colleges and universiti­es. Washington lectured widely and became the White House’s first black dinner guest when Republican President Theodore Roosevelt welcomed him in 1901.

Madam C.J. Walker became America’s first female millionair­e entreprene­ur. She earned her fortune in the early 1900s by marketing hair-care products to fellow blacks. By selling Afro Sheen before Afro Sheen, she made enough money to buy a mansion in posh Westcheste­r, near that of John D. Rockefelle­r.

The Netflix mini-series“Self Made” dramatizes Walker’ s amazing story. It stars Octavia Spencer, a black success story in her own right and an Academy Award winner, along with Sidney Poitier, Isaac Hayes, Whoopi Goldberg, Denzel Washington, Spike Lee and numerous other exceptiona­l black filmmakers.

Black musicians Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington co-fathered jazz, as W.C. Handy, Sidney Bechet, Ella Fitzgerald, Fats Waller, Dizzy Gillespie, Quincy Delight Jones, George Benson, Wynton Marsalis and countless other black talents still polish this all-American art form to a blinding sheen.

The Tuskegee Airmen bombed Adolf Hitler to bits and buried beneath smoldering rubble the notion that blacks lacked the brains to fly. Jackie Robinson integrated baseball. Muhammad Ali was The Greatest pugilist. Michael Jordan towered over basketball.

Impresario Berry Gordy launched a whole new sound called Motown. Kenneth Chenault led American Express for 17 years. Ursula Burns was Xerox CEO. Richard Parsons ran Citigroup and Time Warner. E. Stanley O’Neal’s grandfathe­r was a slave. Two generation­s later, O’Neal chaired Merrill Lynch.

Colin Powell and Condoleezz­a Rice were US secretarie­s of state. Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch were attorneys general. Kamala Harris is vice president. Barack Obama spent eight years as president.

If he were alive, Dr. Martin Luther King likely would argue that — while room to rise remains — his Dream has come true. Beyond these famous names, millions of black Americans use their freedom to improve themselves, their loved ones, their communitie­s and this nation.

This and every Juneteenth, Americans of all hues should applaud black success since emancipati­on rather than wallow with the critical race theorists in all the wrongs before June 19, 1865.

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