June 19 is Juneteenth, the holiday that celebrates the end of slavery in the U.S. On June 17, 2021, President Joe Biden signed into law a bill making Juneteenth a national holiday. This guide provides a selection of books and videos about Juneteenth and the broader topics of emancipation and freedom.
Juneteenth is the celebration that observes June 19th,1865 as the enforced end of slavery in the United States. On that date, army troops entered the state of Texas to force the liberation of enslaved people. This was two months after the end of the Civil War, and two and a half years after Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation had rhetorically and legally declared slavery to be abolished. Some have suggested that Juneteenth is similar to the Fourth of July as they are both Independence Days that celebrate freedom. However, enslaved Blacks were not freed on July 4th, 1776, despite the Declaration of Independence stating "all men are created equal" and that Liberty was one of three "inalienable rights." For this reason, Juneteenth has a special significance. Indeed, as writer Jameelah Rasheed states:
Juneteenth isn’t the "other" Independence Day, it is the Independence Day."
Selected Juneteenth Resources
Here we have gathered a selection of books and ebooks about Juneteenth and Emancipation, as well as children's and young adult books. Use the tabs above to view these resources.
"Emancipation Day celebration - later known as Juneteenth and a public holiday in Texas." Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons
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Where there are celebrations, there is great food! Grilled barbecued meat and food and drinks that are red are especially common for picnics and get-togethers. Red symbolizes the years of enslavement and struggle against oppression. According to culinary historians, there are also connections to West African food traditions. Below are a few recipes for Juneteenth celebrations. Enjoy!
Part of the Emancipation Road series. This documentary covers "Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation and its effect on the end of the Civil War, the Reconstruction era in the South, and the eventual Constitutional amendments passed to protect it." (Synopsis from Kanopy) Duration: 49 min.
Part of the Up from Slavery series. "This section of the documentary series looks at the conclusion of the War Between the States and the effects of the outcome for slaves, slave owners and the entire country." (Synopsis from Kanopy) Duration: 45 min.
"Defiant, brave and free, the great abolitionists Thomas Garrett, William Still and Harriet Tubman, along with hundreds of lesser known and nameless opponents of slavery, formed a Corridor of Courage stretching from Maryland's eastern shore through the length of Delaware to Philadelphia and beyond -- making the Underground Railroad a real route to freedom for enslaved Americans before the Civil War. Long-format interviews with prominent historians blend with dramatic reenactment to create a powerful story about the fight to end slavery. Actors Edward Asner and Blair Underwood portray the two most prominent abolitionists on the eastern line of the Underground Railroad, Thomas Garrett and William Still." (Synopsis from Kanopy) Duration: 60 min.