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Resources to learn about the American holiday celebrating the end of slavery in the United States.

Topic Overview

Image source: Image by Wynn Pointaux from Pixabay


Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration that commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. This festival is held in many African American and other communities annually. The name of the festival refers to June 19. Juneteenth festivities often include family reunions, parades, plays, and storytelling. Some communities hold longer Juneteenth festivals that span several days as a celebration of civil rights and freedom. Juneteenth is a federal holiday observed in the District of Columbia and by federal employees throughout the United States. In addition, all of the states have recognized Juneteenth in an official capacity.

The festival originated in Texas at the end of the American Civil War (1861-1865). In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which declared freedom for the enslaved people in the Confederate States in rebellion against the Union. However, many slaveholders in Texas suppressed information about the emancipation even after the war ended in April 1865. On June 19, 1865, Gordon Granger, a Union general, entered Galveston, Texas, and ordered all enslaved people in the state to be freed. About 250,000 enslaved people, among the last remaining in the United States, were freed.

image title: Emancipation Proclamation

Emancipation Proclamation

Juneteenth celebrations were held only in Texas and a few communities in other states in the South in the years following the war. African Americans carried the celebration with them as they migrated to other regions. Today, Juneteenth festivals have become popular celebrations of freedom and African American culture in many communities throughout the country. Texas became the first U.S. state to recognize Juneteenth officially, in 1980. Juneteenth became a federal holiday in 2021. In some places, Juneteenth is called Black Independence Day, Emancipation Day, Freedom Day, or Jubilee Day.

Source: Pratt, Robert A. "Juneteenth." World Book Student, 2024, Accessed 29 May 2024.

In the Library

Stop by the libraries to see our Juneteenth displays!

Juneteenth books in the MSHS Library: Please visit the library catalog first and then open the link to Juneteenth books


Useful Websites

How to Celebrate

Greet someone:
Wish people a “Happy Juneteenth” or “Happy Teenth” 

Educate yourself:
Read a book or visit a museum online (see links above)

Be an ally:
Allies should reflect on their role in upholding racism and white supremacy, work to dismantle them, use their privilege to support Black communities and fight against racism daily.

Watch some shows and movies:

Juneteenth Jamboree
Juneteenth Jamboree illuminates the significance of the Juneteenth holiday and shares stories about black culture and history. You can view this year’s episodes and an archive of past years for free through the PBS website.

Director Ava Duvernay's documentary "13th" explores the loophole in the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which allows a form of slavery through criminal punishment. The film delves into the American incarceration system and its role in perpetuating systemic racism. This piercing, Oscar-nominated film won Best Documentary at the Emmys, the BAFTAs and the NAACP Image Awards.

Miss Juneteenth
A former beauty queen and single mom prepares her rebellious teenage daughter for the "Miss Juneteenth" pageant. Available through streaming platforms.

Library Databases

View the databases below to find reliable and peer-reviewed articles and media. Databases are available on campus and may require a password to access from home. Open the password link below.