This weekend people all over the U.S. will be celebrating Juneteenth. For some African Americans this is holiday nothing new and they may have been celebrating or commemorating June 19th for many years. But, for others Juneteenth is something brand new and they may not know the history or the significance of the day and why all people living in the United States with African roots should commemorate the date.
There are articles on top of articles on the internet about Juneteenth and it’s background. But, I am going to run it back one more time for those of us that may not be up to date on this newly minted national holiday “Juneteenth”. Here is your quick review:
Ok, during the Civil war president Lincoln freed all enslaved people in January of 1863. But, the information got to the enslaved community at different times across the United States but, Texas was essentially the last to be notified officially or otherwise on June 19th 1965. The newly freed people of Texas left “Master” with a quickness, although suggestions were made that servants should stay on and work for paid wages.(We all heard that collective “uh uh” didn’t we? Aaaand, I know we all have the exact same expression on our faces when we heard about that part.) The next year 1866 Black Texans organized a day of jubilee that eventually became an annual event now know as Juneteenth.
The very first annual event was indeed a celebration but, it was also used as a day to educate and inform people voting rights, how to vote and more. In 2022 blacks have the right to vote but, there are people in this country that do not want us to vote and are doing everything they can to stop us from exercising our rights as black people and as human beings. Today I want to encourage you on this Juneteenth weekend to celebrate but to also remember the history of black people in the United States. Here are some ways to do both with your family and friends!
1. Set the tone of the celebration and purpose with decorations that cordinate with the Juneteenth Flag or you can always choose to go with the RED, the BLACK, and the GREEN the colors of the African flag.
3. Plan the events for your celebration! If you are hosting a group of 6 or more you can really have a fun time with this part by planning a cooking and baking contest, host a black trivia quiz, share little known black history facts, start a family tree project, and create a family vision board.
2. Plan your menu with red colored foods as the center of attention. Barbecued meats, baked beans, red beans and rice, red beverages, red velvet cake (see below for a delicious recipe), strawberry pies, shortcakes and wonderful watermelon. Red represents the bloodshed of our ancestors and it also symbolizes our resilience and joy.
All of these events can be super fun to enjoy with family and friends. I can hear all the laughter and feel love already. I hope these tips inspire you to connect with your family in a brand new way.
And, while you’re planning an event for family and friends try out this de-licious Red Velvet Pound cake by Cooking with Carolyn. Carolyn makes everything so if you need any cooking inspiration check out her YouTube channel. She has two versions of Red Velvet Pound Cakes but I am only going to share the specific one I use. It’s is a perfect and easy traveling alternative to a red velvet layer cake. You can choose to glaze it with cream cheese icing or leave it plain. It tastes great either way!
Red Velvet Pound Cake
1 1/2 cups softened butter
8 ounce block cream cheese softened
3 cups granulated sugar
6 large room temperature eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons strong brewed coffee
2 teaspoons white vinegar
3 tablespoons red food coloring
1 1/4 all purpose flour
1 1/4 cake flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Heavily grease and flour a 10-12 cup tube or Bundt cake pan. Set aside.
In a medium size bowl blend together the flours, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt together with a fork or small whisk and set aside.
In a large bowl, blend together the softened butter and the softened cream cheese with an electric mixer or a stand mixer with the whisk attachment. Add in the granulated sugar and mix together until well blended and the sugar crystals have almost dissolved. Scrape the bowl down on the sides and bottom with a rubber spatula to make sure nothing is unmixed.
Add in large eggs one at a time blending until the egg yolk disappears. Scrape the bowl once again. Add in the vanilla extract, coffee, vinegar and food coloring. Mix on low until the ingredients have been well blended together. Scrape the bowl on the side and bottom.
Lastly, mix in the flour blend one cup at a time remembering to stop and scrape the bowl after each addition. Give the batter one final stir with your rubber spatula and then pour the Red Velvet batter into the prepared cake pan.
Bake the cake for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Turn oven off. Leave cake in the oven for 10 more minutes.
Remove cake from oven. If using a straight sided tube pan immediately run a butter knife between the pan and the cake to help it release. Let it sit for 10 minutes. Then remove the cake from the pan by turning onto a plate or cake board. If glazing (use your favorite cream cheese glaze or icing) let cake cool for at least 2 hours.