National Juneteenth Observance Foundation
                         Celebration of Freedom




Christianity, Islam and Slavery
by Craig Keener, Ph.D.

The MAAFA is a Kiswahili term for "terrible occurrence" or "great disaster". It refers to the Black Holocaust when millions of Africans died during the journey of captivity from the west coast of Africa to the shores of America, known as the Middle Passage. Our ancestors died in the belly of slave ships or choose death by jumping into the sea rather than live in captivity.

It is a remembrance of the thousands of African Americans lynched and murdered before and after the end of enslavement. This especially includes the Red Summer of 1919 and the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921, considered the worst domestic terrorist event in U.S. history.

In 2014, the historic Omaha Juneteenth Maafa Memorial Reconciliation and Healing Prayer Service took place on the steps of Omaha City Hall during the week of the observance of Juneteenth. The service was a remembrance of the Red Summer of 1919 and the horrible lynching of Will Brown during the Omaha Race Riot of 1919.

Beginning in the year 2000, the historic National Juneteenth Black Holocaust "Maafa" Memorial Service took place at Lincoln Park United Methodist Church, directly across from the Lincoln Park Emancipation Memorial, in the nation's capitol.

In 2013, the service continued as the National Juneteenth "Maafa" Memorial Wreath Laying Ceremony and continues annually during the National Day of Reconciliation and Healing From the Legacy of Enslavement. The day is also recognized as the National Day of Remembrance of the Maafa in America and occurs each year on the "18th of June", during the week of the observance of Juneteenth in America.

The theme of the Memorial Wreath Laying Ceremony is "A Time To Heal, A Time To Pray."

The location and schedule for ceremonies across the nation are posted in



Juneteenth Flag


  Ron Myers

By Rev. Ronald V. Myers, Sr., M.D., Founder & Chairman
National Juneteenth Christian Leadership Council (NJCLC)
January 30, 2005

Sponsors of the Annual:

National Day of Reconciliation & Healing From the Legacy of Slavery
National Day of the Remembrance of the Maafa in America

"18th of June"

World Day of Reconciliation and Healing from the Legacy of Enslavement

"25th of August"


"Most gatherings are decidedly upbeat, but the sobering reason for the holiday has also been part of Juneteenth's growth. Dr. Ronald Myers, the leader of a movement to make Juneteenth a national holiday, says June 19 should be an annual remembrance of the horrors of slavery.

We never got our apology, so we need this holiday to remind us that we must not forget," said Dr. Myers, who spoke yesterday at a Juneteenth event at the Capitol led by Representative Danny K. Davis, Democrat of Illinois." New York Times, 6/19/04

As we were reminded about the horrors of the Jewish Holocaust during World War II many African-Americans are reminded of our own tragic history of slavery, the middle passage and the lynching and murders of our people before and after the civil war. We ponder as to why so little attention has been given to our own history of death and destruction in America. In response, we have embraced the term "Maafa", a Kiswahili term meaning "disaster" or "terrible occurrence", to tell our own story about our enslavement and the sustained attempt to dehumanize us.

Join us in making the "18th of June" a monumental day of remembrance of our Maafa in America. We must never allow America to ignore our Maafa or our children to forget.

     Return to History