To Move Forward, We Must Understand Our Past
49ers Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Christina Jefferson shares her history with Juneteenth and reflects on why it’s a missing piece in the educational system.
“As a kid I didn’t know anything about Juneteenth. In fact, I’m not even sure I had heard of the holiday. I grew up in the Midwest, a child of a mixed-race (Black, Native American and Irish) mother and a Black father.
“I grew up knowing my grandparents moved from Virginia to St. Louis so my grandmother could teach chemistry, but I didn’t think much about it as a child. It wasn’t until adulthood that I learned of a letter she wrote to the editor of a Richmond, Virginia newspaper in reference to an advertisement for a laboratory specialist asking, ‘Why does not the state consider a qualified Negro for the position?’ My grandmother graduated cum laude and was ‘qualified for this position in every way except one — her complexion.'”