Did you know that the earliest traces of the ever popular “Memorial Day” holiday began with former slaves more than 150 years ago?

It’s no secret that hundreds of thousands of Black soldiers and laborers served in Union armies.

Following the American Civil War, in 1865, a group of slaves worked together to dig up 257 dead Union soldiers who had been buried in a mass grave nearly a month after the battle.

Condemned to a life of oppression and inhumanity, the former slaves wanted to honor and properly bury the soldiers who fought and died for their freedom, properly.

After 2 weeks of digging and locating the fallen heroes, the celebration of life and newly-gained freedom commenced, with a parade of 10,000 people, led by 3,000 black children singing and marching.

History books will quote the holiday began in 1868, but, like much else in America, the ACTUAL origin dates back years prior, and came from our melanated brothers and sisters.

In the late 1990s, a dusty archive at Harvard University was found and it recounts the former slaves’ commemoration. Now known as Memorial Day, the holiday began as “Decoration Day,” stemming from the decorating of the soldiers’ graves.

Happy Memorial Day. We honor those who fought for our peace and advancement of life.