Juneteenth is about June 19, 1865 when thousands of Black Union soldiers and Army General Gordon Granger enforced the Emancipation Proclamation in Galveston, Texas, informing enslaved Black Texans that they were no longer enslaved. That was two years after the Emancipation Proclamation and six months before the 13th Amendment was ratified. Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States, and its celebratory observance has spread across the country.
(Photos: Emancipation Day celebration, June 19, 1900 held in “East Woods” on East 24th Street in Austin.
Credit: Austin History Center via NMAAHC)
Libraries carry a wealth of information in a variety of formats about this national holiday and its history. With this progress thanks to the work of many Black Texan activists, we can also know that we have yet to see many tangible steps toward decreasing the anti-black and white supremacist laws, procedures, education, and attitudes that would make this national holiday more meaningful.
Celebrate with gratitude to the people who have shaped history and the people still doing so today in my favorite library way…reading books! Here is a list of fantastic books and movies of different genres to get you started.
- PBS – Slavery by Another Name
- PBS – Slavery & the Making of America
- The Great Courses – America’s Long Struggle Against Slavery
- Ralph Ellison’s Legacy (Why he never finished the book Juneteenth)
- The Spirituals
- Whose Streets (also available on DVD)
- Miss Juneteenth (also available on DVD)
- Fight the Power: The Movements That Changed America
- Juneteenth from Hoopla
- Black Voices and Black History from Overdrive
- Cookbooks in our Collection
- this printable bookmark available at the Main Library
We hope you find something you enjoy from these lists. As always, when the library doesn’t have the book you’re looking for, send us a suggestion using our online form.
(Updated June 2022)