What are you Doing for Memorial Day? A Black History Mystery

Super Mrs. C.
4 min readMay 23, 2024
Memorial Day at the Crossroads, courtesy of dreamstime (Yes, I paid for it.)

“Merry Christmas.” Well, of course. “Happy Holidays.” Again, no problem. It’s good to acknowledge that some months contain not only a succession of celebrations and holidays, but also of holiday meals. Now that makes us happy. “Happy Hanukkah.” Yep. “Happy New Year!” (Not “Happy New Year’s,” unless it’s followed by “Day.”) “Happy ‘Martin Luther King Day?’” No. Not even close. Wrong on two counts, which I’ll explain in some later gentle tirade. The most egregious, inappropriate “Happy,” in my opinion? “Happy Memorial Day.” How does one have a “Happy Memorial Day?” It’s about dead people.

Here’s an abbreviated history of the day for those who were born after it became a three-day weekend extravaganza in 1971. Memorial Day began to be observed at the close of the Civil War when emancipated former slaves in Charleston, South Carolina, honored union soldiers, both black and white, who had been dumped into mass graves at the hands of Confederate soldiers. The gravesite was a racetrack called The Washington Race Track. The newly-emancipated citizens disenterred the bodies and gave them individual burials. Afterwards, on May 1st, 1865, in commemoration, they gathered by the thousands, led by 2,000 black children carrying flowers and decorated the graves.*

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Super Mrs. C.

Retired teacher. Humorous essayist about Life. Serious essayist about politics and “race.” Aspiring world saver. Cat mama. We can do better than this.