Honoring History, Celebrating Freedom: Juneteenth

It is commonly known and taught to children in the United States that slavery ended in 1863, as proclaimed by President Abraham Lincoln at the end of the Civil War. But did you know that  not all southern states received the message? It took almost 2 years for the message of freedom to reach Galveston, Texas, where more than 200,000 people of African descent remained enslaved. The message of their status as free people was delivered by Union soldiers on June 19, 1865. This date, commonly known as “Juneteenth” (and considered Independence Day by African Americansbecame an annual celebration in Texas and is now celebrated by African Americans nationwide. 

Juneteenth is a time of celebration and reflection for many African Americans. It's a time to remember the past, strive for a peaceful present and forge a hopeful future. Parades, festivals, picnics, religious and other communal gatherings are some of the ways this holiday is commemorated. Learn more about this holiday, reflect on the trials and achievements of African Americans, share and retell folktales and get inspired to create your own Juneteenth celebration with these titles. 

Juneteenth presents the origins of the holiday, also known as Emancipation or Freedom Day, as well as the history of enslaved Africans in America.  

Learn how to create a Juneteenth decoration, try a recipe and review the origins of this holiday.

The People Could Fly: Read, retell and reimagine these imaginative and hopeful folktales. 

Going Down Home With DaddyA young boy travels with his dad to a family reunion on their family farm where the talents of the family children are showcased and celebrated.  

We Had A Picnic This Sunday Past: Join Teeka and her relatives and the dishes they bring to her family’s annual picnic gathering. 

Exploring African-American Culture Through Crafts: Learn about notable African Americans  as well as African American culture through craft activities. 

Rock of Ages: Explore the role and importance of the Black Church through poetry, from slavery to modern times.

Family Reunion: A young boy discovers the "not so boring" joy in reuniting with extended family and elders.

How will you and your family celebrate Juneteenth this year?