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Celebrating Juneteenth 2021

On June 19, 1865, Union General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas. He informed the enslaved African Americans of their freedom and that the Civil War had ended. This momentous occasion has been celebrated as Juneteenth — a combination of June and 19 — for more than 150 years. As we celebrate this newly recognized federal holiday, proper education remains a crucial element in ensuring the day receives the proper respect it deserves.

Whether you learn best from books, podcasts, movies, or news articles, the Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility has compiled a list of resources to help you better understand the history and significance of Juneteenth.


Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi: Ibram X. Kendi gives a comprehensive history of race in the United States split into five time periods: 1415-1728. 1743-1826, 1826-1879, 1863-1963 and 1963-today. The book itself focuses on overlooked stories and figures to illustrate the development of racist ideas and the origins in America. The 2016 National Nonfiction Book Award Winner has also been adapted into a version for younger audiences — Stamped: Racism, Antiracism and You.

The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson: The Pulitzer-Prize winning author shares the untold story of the “Great Migration,” also known as the “Black Migration,” a period in which six million African Americans moved out of the Southern United States between 1916 and 1970 into cities like Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia and Washington D.C, creating rich cultural, social and political communities of their own.

How the Word is Passed by Clint Smith: In his book Clint Smith makes the argument that history is told through the perspective of the victors, examining eight topics in United States History to reckon with the idea of who we thought we were and what is remembered.

On Juneteenth by Annette Gordon-Reed: Historian Annette Gordon-Reed utilizes a series of short stories and essays to tell the journey it took for Major General Gordon Granger to announce the end of legalized slavery in Texas on June 19, 1865.


History of Juneteenth, NPR: An oral history of Juneteenth and the events that took place on June 19, 1865 when legal slavery ended in Texas, thus marking the end of enslavement in all of the United States.

Voices Remembering Slavery: Freed People Tell Their Stories: Through a series of 23 episodes, recordings from 1932 to 1975 of Freed Black Americans retelling their stories are retold for the first time in an auditory format, telling the stories of life as an African American in the United States from 1860’s to the 1930’s and beyond.

Into America: Hosted by Trymaine Lee, each episode looks at the reality of being Black in America and what it means to “hold truth to power and hold this country to its promises.”

Black Wall Street 1921: The episodic podcast told by Nia Clark tells the story of life before, during and after the Tulsa Race Massacre that resulted in the death of as many as 300 Black Americans and destroyed 35 square blocks of the town.


13th: The Netflix Documentary from Ava DuVernay explores the “intersection of race, justice and mass incarnation in the United States.” The title references the 13th amendment to the United States Constitution abolishing slavery except as punishment for a crime.

I Am Not Your Negro: Based on the unfinished manuscript for James Baldwin’s Remember This House the documentary looks at the history of racism in the United States through the eyes of Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr. and Medgar Evers and their lives and subsequent deaths.

Black-ish “Juneteenth”: Episode one of Black-ish’s season four shows patriarch of the family, Dre Johnson, teaching his children about the under-celebrated holiday of Juneteenth through flashbacks and song.


A resource guide for Black liberation, just in time for Juneteenth: The Los Angeles Times provides a list of cultural content that will help individual learn about how to celebrate Juneteenth with narratives and portraits of Black joy, Black love and Black freedom.

The Birth of Juneteenth; Voices of the Enslaved: Origins of Juneteenth can be traced to the front porch of a Texas plantation house, where a slaveowner told his 150 enslaved workers that they were free on June 19, 1865.

Emancipation and Educating the Newly Freed: While Juneteenth is often associated with celebrations of physical emancipations from slavery, it also signaled another type of liberation for the newly freed. Between 1861 and 1900, more than 90 institutions of higher education were founded for Black Americans who could not otherwise attend predominantly white institutions because of segregation laws.

The Story of Juneteenth, the New Federal Holiday: President Joe Biden signed a bill Thursday that was passed by Congress to set aside Juneteenth, or June 19th, as a federal holiday. “I hope this is the beginning of a change in the way we deal with one another,” he said. The Senate approved the bill unanimously; only 14 House Republicans — many representing states that were part of the slave-holding Confederacy in the 19th century — opposed the measure. What is this federal holiday, and what is its history?

NMAAHC Kids Understanding & Celebrating Juneteenth: NMAAHC’s early childhood education team offers the following resources to support young children’s understanding and celebration of Juneteenth: a guide on how to talk about slavery and freedom in age appropriate ways, an activity to inspire hope and activism, and a children’s book and online resources list.

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