Photo by the Texas Historical Commission
Juneteenth commemorates the day the last enslaved people were emancipated in the United States on June 19, 1865. This happened more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation when a Union Army general finally told the people of Galveston, Texas, that slavery had ended. For a more comprehensive history, please read Henry Louis Gates, Jr.’s work here: https://www.pbs.org/wnet/african-americans-many-rivers-to-cross/history/what-is-juneteenth/
The New York Public Library also has a nice blog post about Juneteenth here: https://www.nypl.org/blog/2017/06/19/celebrating-juneteenth
Now, 155 years later, people all over the U.S. continue to mark the occasion with celebrations. Illinois Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton, the first Black woman to hold that office, spoke at last year’s celebration at Killion Park in Alton. Some of the biggest festivities are in Texas, and you can celebrate virtually this year at https://juneteenthatx.com/ The Austin Public Library is even a sponsor!
Here are some books (fiction and nonfiction) in the Hayner collection that you can request to learn more about Juneteenth:
By Ralph Ellison
Downtown and Alton Square Libraries F ELL
Stony the Road
by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Downtown and Alton Square Libraries 973.0496073 GAT
We Were Eight Years in Power
By Ta-Nehisi Coates
Downtown and Alton Square Libraries 973.932 WEW
And for younger readers:
Freedom’s Gifts: A Juneteenth Story
By Valerie Wesley, illustrated by Sharon Wilson
Alton Square Library E WES
By Carole Boston Weatherford ; illustrated by Yvonne Buchanan.
Alton Square Library E WEA
By Robin Nelson
Downtown and Alton Square Libraries E394.263 NEL