By Roy Douglas Malonson

It is no secret that America has always had two shades of color – Black and White. American history in times past classified any individual of any race, who was not Black, as White. Freedom as it relates to the American culture is no different. U.S. History clearly reflects this. For the 4th of July declared all men are free and equal, but WE didn’t get our so-called democracy until Juneteenth.” But, even with that, Blacks still were not completely free and equal.

The beginning of understanding Shades of Freedom in American society, rests in two historical dates in the nation’s history, July 4, 1776 and June 19, 1865.

One Shade of Freedom: July 4, 1776 (Independence Day)

Amid the Revolutionary War, colonists began talk of gaining independence from Great Britain. Although initially there was not a complete mutual agreement with other colonists in the States, eventually a unified consensus was established. Hence, the birth of American freedom was voted in on July 2, 1776 by the Continental Congress. On July 4 of that same year, delegates from the 13 colonies signed the Declaration of Independence, drafted by Thomas Jefferson. That date marked the official independence of America. That was, at least for one shade of the country’s inhabitants.

According to, John Adams was one of the first to encourage the celebration of Independence Day. Although he wrote to his wife, Abigail that it should be celebrated on July 2; the manner of celebration he proposed is one which is still regarded by millions of Americans today.

He declared events such as: “Pomp and Parade, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other;” were in order to commemorate the historical date.

The first documented commemoration of Independence Day was in Philadelphia on July 4, 1777. Nearly a century later Congress declared Independence Day a federal holiday. In 1941, an amendment was added to grant a paid holiday to all federal employees.

Since that time, the Fourth of July has remained a celebratory holiday for Americans everywhere. Fireworks, barbecues, concerts, parades, family reunions and other leisure activities have become a customary tradition in honor of American independence.

But, wait… Who exactly benefitted from America’s Independence Day; especially when Blacks were still in bondage and under oppression? Was it possible for a people to truly be free, while in physical bondage and captivity all at the same time???

Another Shade of Freedom: June 19, 1865 (Juneteenth)

“The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States.” – Declaration of Independence

Being victims of such control as absolute tyranny from Great Britain, ignited a strong desire for freedom from Britain amongst American colonists. It is from experiencing this ill-treatment that the Declaration of Independence also declares, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Anyone who has any type of American history knowledge, understands that this statement is an oxymoron at best, when considering Juneteenth.

Furthermore, one may wonder… Why one shade of people would subject another shade to the similar ill-treatment they struggled to break free from? For those wondering minds, the answer is simple.

There are two shades of freedom in America.

While one shade of America began enjoying freedom on July 4, 1776, it would take over a century later before the other shade would even touch freedom’s hem. Africans in America who had been enslaved since as early as 1619 did not see a sign of freedom until January 1, 1863. It was on this date that President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. The document confirmed that all individuals enslaved in Confederate states in rebellion against the Union “shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.”

However, it took over two years before slaves in Texas got the news. On June 19, 1865, a native of New York, General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston Bay with an entourage of troops. Granger stood on the balcony of Ashton Villa and read aloud General Order No. 3, “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.”

Although the Emancipation Proclamation had been signed it could not be fully enforced until after the war. Nevertheless, Texans marked this day in history as Juneteenth. It became the official day of the abolition of slavery in the South. Quite naturally, Juneteenth was only pivotal point in history for one shade of people. As such, it never received the widespread recognition and attention as the Fourth of July. Even though Juneteenth happened, it was 1979 before the first American state (Texas), even regarded it as an official holiday. To this day, only 39 states recognize Juneteenth. But, to most southern African-Americans it marks a day of the truest freedom Our Shade will ever know.

I will close with the words of Frederick Douglass the abolitionist. In his 1852 Independence Day oration he rhetorically asks, “What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July?” He then answered, “a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is constant victim.”

October 16, 2023, HOUSTON, TX – Congressional Candidate Amanda Edwards has raised over $1 million in less than 4 months, a substantial sum that helps bolster the frontrunner status of the former At-Large Houston City Council Member in her bid for U.S. Congress. Edwards raised over $433,000 in Q3 of 2023. This strong Q3 report expands on a successful Q2 where Edwards announced just 11 days after declaring her candidacy that she had raised over $600,000. With over $829,000 in cash-on-hand at the end of the September 30th financial reporting period, Edwards proves again that she is the clear frontrunner in the race. “I am beyond grateful for the strong outpouring of support that will help me to win this race and serve the incredible people of the 18th Congressional District,” said Edwards. “We are at a critical juncture in our nation’s trajectory, and we need to send servant leaders to Congress who can deliver the results the community deserves. The strong support from our supporters will help us to cultivate an 18th Congressional District where everyone in it can thrive.” Edwards said. “Amanda understands the challenges that the hard-working folks of the 18th Congressional District face because she has never lost sight of who she is or where she comes from; she was born and raised right here in the 18th Congressional District of Houston,” said Kathryn McNiel, spokesperson for Edwards’ campaign. Edwards has been endorsed by Higher Heights PAC, Collective PAC, Krimson PAC, and the Brady PAC. She has also been supported by Beto O’Rourke, among many others. About Amanda: Amanda is a native Houstonian, attorney and former At-Large Houston City Council Member. Amanda is a graduate of Eisenhower High School in Aldine ISD. Edwards earned a B.A. from Emory University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. Edwards practiced law at Vinson & Elkins LLP and Bracewell LLP before entering public service. Edwards is a life-long member of St. Monica Catholic Church in Acres Homes. For more information, please visit

As September 13th rolls around, we extend our warmest birthday wishes to the creative powerhouse, Tyler Perry, a man whose indomitable spirit and groundbreaking work have left an indelible mark on the world of entertainment. With his multifaceted talents as an actor, playwright, screenwriter, producer, and director, Tyler Perry has not only entertained but also inspired audiences worldwide, particularly within the African-American community, where his influence and role have been nothing short of powerful. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1969, Tyler Perry’s journey to stardom was a path riddled with adversity. Raised in a turbulent household, he found refuge in writing, using it as a therapeutic outlet. This period of introspection gave rise to one of his most iconic creations, Madea, a vivacious, no-nonsense grandmother who would later become a beloved figure in Perry’s works, offering a unique blend of humor and profound life lessons. Despite facing numerous challenges, including rejection and financial struggles, Perry’s determination and unwavering belief in his abilities propelled him forward. In 1992, he staged his first play, “I Know I’ve Been Changed,” which, although met with limited success, was a pivotal moment in his career. Unfazed by initial setbacks, Perry continued to hone his craft, and by 1998, he had successfully produced a string of stage plays that showcased his storytelling prowess.

Calling all teenage student-athletes! If you have dreams of playing college soccer and wish to represent an HBCU, the HBCU ID Camp is your golden opportunity. From 8 am to 5 pm on November 11-12, Houston Sports Park will transform into a hub for aspiring male and female soccer players. Coaches from HBCUs across the nation will be present to evaluate, scout, and offer valuable feedback. Moreover, they might even spot the next soccer prodigy to join their collegiate soccer programs. This camp is not just about honing your soccer skills but also a chance to connect with the HBCU soccer community. You’ll learn the ins and outs of what it takes to excel on the field and in the classroom, which is crucial for a college athlete. The HBCU ID Camp is an excellent platform to network with coaches, learn from experienced athletes, and take the first steps toward your college soccer journey. To secure your spot at this incredible event, don’t forget to register [here](insert registration link). Space is limited to 120 participants, so make sure to reserve your place before it’s too late. It’s time to turn your dreams of playing college soccer into a reality.

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