Juneteenth, also called Freedom Day, takes place on June 19th and commemorates the emancipation of formerly enslaved people in the U.S. Now a federal holiday, Juneteenth marks the historic event when news of the emancipation finally reached the enslaved people in and around Galveston, Texas in the year 1865. And to celebrate, we have books!
Due to news traveling a lot slower in the 1800's, it took a while for the announcement of emancipation to disperse among the people. When they hear that they are free, they celebrate and look towards the future. This book gives an account that shows more of the human feelings rather than dates and facts, from a young girl who imagines what it must have been like for her ancestors to hear those words and the impact it had on them, and what they thought and dreamed about.
This non-fiction book gives facts about the holiday and shows you what modern celebrations entail. It displays the importance of remembering the historical event and explains the history of the holiday, as well as how it's celebrated today. African-American culture and heritage is celebrated by going to church, singing spirituals, and remembering their ancestors. There are also parades, speeches, and barbecues among other celebrations of freedom. This is a perfect introduction to the holiday for younger children and has terms and definitions at the back, as well as a craft!
In this book, the author sets the scene of Texas in 1865. This one presents the historic event in a little more detail, with more context of the past. You learn about the Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation. Slavery had existed in the U.S. for over 200 years, so for the enslaved people, this way of life was all they'd ever known. The book details the first Juneteenth celebration, and shows that it's still celebrated mostly the same way today. It has terms and definitions in the back, as well as a song!
How will you celebrate Juneteenth this year?