We were “emancipated,” but plantation owners weren’t willing to let their free labor just leave. Even the Union troops who announced freedom told the formerly enslaved not to leave immediately.
But many of our people did, and they unfortunately paid a heavy price.
Countless “free” Black people were shot or lynched! Enslavers would rather see formerly enslaved Black people DEAD than living with them side by side as free citizens.
So what does a formerly enslaved woman named Katie Darling have to do with this?
Darling wasn’t shot or killed after the supposed emancipation. Instead, her captor kept her for six more YEARS before finally freeing her.
Darling witnessed the truth of what happened to many of our people on what we now call Juneteenth. She was a living testimony to a huge American lie.
Today, our people are STILL harassed and often killed by a U.S.A. that doesn’t treat us like we’re full-fledged citizens.
So many claim freedom and equality have existed since the Emancipation Proclamation, but Darling’s story reminds us of the truth.
Katie Darling bore witness to the dishonest relationship this country has with our people. When we celebrate Juneteenth, we must recognize the updated form these lies take today – and never forget Katie Darling.