Juneteenth marks the anniversary of June 19, 1865, the day that Texas slaves learned they were free. It is commemorated across the United States and is an official state holiday in Texas.
The Emancipation Proclamation, issued by President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863, freed slaves in the Confederate states and areas not under Union control, but the slaves in Texas were not told they were legally free for more than two years.
The first major Texas commemoration of June 19 was held in 1866 on the first anniversary of the state’s emancipation day, which soon became known as Juneteenth. It also has been called ”African-American Independence Day” or “Freedom Day” (not to be confused with National Freedom Day, the anniversary of the 13th Amendment). At the state capital, the first Juneteenth celebration was held in 1867. The celebration spread to other states via African Americans who moved out of Texas and took their commemorative activities with them.
A Flag for Juneteenth (2023), by Kim Taylor. Expert quilter Kim Taylor shares a unique and powerful story of the celebration of the first Juneteenth, from the perspective of a young girl.
All Different Now: Juneteenth, the First Day of Freedom (2014), by Angela Johnson. In 1865, members of a family start their day as slaves, working in a Texas cotton field, and end it celebrating their freedom on what came to be known as Juneteenth.
Come Juneteenth (2021), by Ann Rinaldi. Fourteen-year-old Luli and her family face tragedy after failing to tell their slaves that President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation made them free.
Free At Last: A Juneteenth Poem (2022), by Sojourner Kincaid-Rolle. Deeply emotional, evocative free verse by poet and activist Sojourner Kincaid Rolle traces the solemnity and celebration of Juneteenth from its 1865 origins in Galveston, Texas to contemporary observances all over the United States.
Juneteenth (2023), by Van G. Garrett. A young Black child experiences the magic of the Juneteenth parade for the first time with their family as they come to understand the purpose of the party that happens every year—and why they celebrate their African American history!
Juneteenth: Our Day of Freedom (2022), by Sharon Dennis Wyeth. Learn more about Juneteenth, a holiday that celebrates the end of chattel slavery in the United States in this Step 3 History Reader.
Juneteenth for Mazie (2015), by Floyd Cooper. Little Mazie wants the freedom to stay up late, but her father explains what freedom really means in the story of Juneteenth, and how her ancestors celebrated their true freedom.
Let’s Celebrate Emancipation Day and Juneteenth (2018), by Barbara DeRubertis. Explains what Emancipation Day and Juneteenth are and explores the fight for freedom from slavery for African Americans.
Opal Lee and What It Means to Be Free: The True Story of the Grandmother of Juneteenth (2022), by Angela Johnson. The true story of Black activist Opal Lee and her vision of Juneteenth as a holiday for everyone celebrates Black joy and inspires children to see their dreams blossom.
The Juneteenth Story: Celebrating the End of Slavery in the United States (2022), by Alliah L. Agostini. With colorful illustrations and a timeline, this introductory history of Juneteenth for kids details the evolution of the holiday commemorating the date the enslaved people of Texas first learned of their freedom.
What is Juneteenth? (2022), by Kirsti Jewel. On June 19, 1865, a group of enslaved men, women, and children in Texas gathered around a Union soldier and listened as he read the most remarkable words they would ever hear. They were no longer enslaved: they were free. This news was cause for celebration, so the group of people jumped in excitement, danced, and wept tears of joy. They did not know it at the time, but their joyous celebration of freedom would become a holiday–Juneteenth–that is observed each year by more and more Americans.
On Juneteenth (2021), by Annette Gordon-Reed. The essential, sweeping story of Juneteenth’s integral importance to American history, as told by a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and Texas native. Interweaving American history, dramatic family chronicle, and searing episodes of memoir, Annette Gordon-Reed, the descendant of enslaved people brought to Texas in the 1850s, recounts the origins of Juneteenth and explores the legacies of the holiday that remain with us.
Academic Search Premier is one of the best databases for high school and college research papers. This multi-disciplinary database provides full text for more than 4,500 journals, of which more than 3,700 are peer-reviewed. PDF backfiles to 1975 or farther are available for well over one hundred journals. Includes full text of more than 300 articles related to Juneteenth.
Infobase’s African-American History Online is a comprehensive database on African-American history from the slave trade to the Civil Rights movement to present day. Thousands of extensively hyperlinked and informative entries include topical entries, biographies, primary source documents, images, timelines, and maps and charts. Includes articles about the history of Juneteenth.