On Saturday, June 19, Americans across the country will celebrate the end of slavery.
What is the history of this observance, which is separate from the Emancipation Proclamation? Juneteenth is a day of observance, celebrating Black freedom and culture. On Thursday, June 17, 2021, President Joe Biden signed legislation into law declaring Juneteenth a federal holiday and naming it Juneteenth National Independence Day.
The end of slavery began on January 1, 1863 when President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, but in many states, news traveled slowly and Black Americans were not immediately freed. This was especially true in Texas, the most distant state.
Juneteenth refers to June 19, 1865, when General Gordon Granger, from the Union army, arrived in Galveston, Texas and demanded that enslaved Blacks be set free. Upon hearing the news, Black Americans celebrated their freedom and new rights, including buying land. Slavery was officially abolished on January 31, 1865 when the 13th Amendment was ratified.
To help you learn more about racial justice, here are selected lists of fiction and nonfiction, linked to our print and digital catalogs.
Beloved by Toni Morrison: print, large type, book on CD, eBook, eAudiobook
Conjure Women by Afia Atakora: print, large type, eBook, eAudiobook
Dear Martin by Nic Stone: print, book on CD, eBook, eAudiobook
Hell of a Book by Jason Mott: print, large type
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi: print, large type, book on CD, eBook, eAudiobook
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison: print, book on CD, eBook, eAudiobook
Juneteenth by Ralph Ellison: print, eAudiobook
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead: print, large type, book on CD, eBook, eAudiobook
The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates: print, large type, book on CD, eBook, eAudiobook
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates: print, large type, book on CD, eBook, eAudiobook
Caste by Isabel Wilkerson print, large type, book on CD, eBook, eAudiobook
The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin: print, eBook, eAudiobook
Four Hundred Souls by Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain: print, large type, audiobook player, eBook, eAudiobook
The Home Place by J. Drew Lanham: print, Book Club in a Bag, eBook, eAudiobook
Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall: print, eBook, eAudiobook
How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi: print, large type, book on CD, eBook, eAudiobook
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou: print, book on CD, audiobook player, eBook, eAudiobook
I’m Still Here by Austin Channing Brown: print, eBook, eAudiobook
Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson: print, book on CD, eBook, eAudiobook, YA eAudiobook, DVD, Blu-Ray DVD
A Little Devil in America by Hanif Abdurraqib: print, eBook
A Mighty Long Way by Carlotta Walls LaNier and Lisa Frazier Page: print, eBook
The Purpose of Power by Alicia Garza: print, eBook
Stony the Road by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.: print, eAudiobook
The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson: print, book on CD, audiobook player, eBook
Looking for more? Visit our Black Voices digital collection here.
For print, books on CD, and DVDs, try these keyword searches:
End of slavery
Black lives matter
Juneteenth (in Children’s Collections)
Juneteenth (in Adult Book Collections)
You can learn more about Juneteenth at these websites:
National Museum of African American History & Culture