Book Review: Becoming Free, Becoming Black: Race, Freedom, and Law in Cuba, Virginia, and Louisiana Book by Alejandro de la Fuente and Ariela Julie Gross


It was an emotional read for me, especially growing up in the New Orleans public school system and now knowing how much of our history was left out. I hated history because of all the important faces in my history book did not bare my skin tone. I was suspended for defacing, aka coloring the faces of people brown in my 7th-grade history book. For years I was taught that the Spanish and British fought for our freedom while my ancestors worked the fields. If it weren’t for my grandmother and mother telling us stories, TV movies like Roots and attending college, I wouldn’t have known the truth about my ancestors. Reading Becoming Free, Becoming Black proves that the enslaved were not enslaved in mind, nor did they accept being enslaved.

A Juneteenth learning experience in New Orleans

I wonder why isn’t Juneteenth celebrated on a larger scale in New Orleans, primarily when the city is known to celebrate some of the strangest things. We have festivals for food, a voodoo fest, a Greek Fest, a whiskey fest, and the list of fest goes on. Is it the sensitivity of the issue at hand that has some cringing at the even written word “J.U.N.E.T.E.E.N.T.H? Is it not celebrated as it should, because some think it’s “just for black” as if white people didn’t assist in this life-changing day? Is it hard for some to accept that Slavery did happen and by way of their lineage? Can we stop avoiding “The Talk”about the day African Americans became “real people” to the government? It happened and we need to celebrate days, events such as Juneteenth together to prevent slavery from happening again.