Skip to Main Content

Juneteenth : June 19th news, history and events

What is Juneteenth?

Juneteenth originated in Galveston, Texas in 1865 to commemorate African Americans' legal freedom from slavery after the American Civil War.  Juneteenth is observed on June 19th. Historians note that Juneteenth was the result of Union general Gordan Granger's public reading on June 19, 1865 of General Order Number 3, which stated: "The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired laborer."

There are several Black folk tales that describe the origin of Juneteenth, including:

  • Texas land owners not divulging the information to slaves so they would harvest crops
  • Word of Emancipation did not reach Galveston until June 19th as the messenger arrived from Washington via mule ride 
  • The first messenger from Washington was killed while in route to Galveston.

Today,  Juneteenth is regarded as a means to celebrate the accomplishments of African Americans, with a focus on education, family gatherings, festivals, cultural events, political speeches, and to remember the indelible scars caused by slavery that all Americans carry to this day.  

This guide contains information sources on the history of Juneteenth, local and regional celebrations, and which states officially recognize Juneteenth as a holiday.  

Juneteenth history and more

Recommended Titles


Shot on the Senate floor by a young Black man, a dying racist senator summons an elderly Black Baptist minister from Oklahoma to his side for a remarkable dialogue that reveals the deeply buried secrets of their shared past and the tragedy that reunites them.

Juneteenth Texas

Juneteenth Texas explores African-American folkways and traditions from both African-American and white perspectives. Included are descriptions and classifications of different aspects of African-American folk culture in Texas; explorations of songs and stories and specific performers such as Lightnin' Hopkins, Manse Lipscomb, and Bongo Joe; and a section giving resources for the further study of African Americans in Texas.  

Freedom's gifts : a Juneteenth story

Finding power in lessons from the pastJuneteenth -- the day Texan slaves found out they had been freed, two years after Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation -- is June's favorite holiday. This year, though, her cousin Lillie will be there for the Juneteenth picnic. That could spoil everything.

Free at Last

This lyrical celebration of Juneteenth, deeply rooted in Black American history, spans centuries and reverberates loudly and proudly today. After 300 years of forced bondage; hands bound, descendants of Africa picked up their souls--all that they owned-- leaving shackles where they fell on the ground, headed for the nearest resting place to be found. 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. This is an ode to the strength of Black Americans and a call to remember and honor a holiday whose importance reverberates far beyond the borders of Texas.

The History of Juneteenth

An introduction to the history of Juneteenth for kids ages 6 to 9 On June 19, 1865, a Union soldier traveled to Texas to tell the enslaved people who lived there that they were free--that slavery was now illegal in every state. The people danced and sang in celebration of their freedom. Today, we pay tribute to this historical day with a special holiday on June 19 called Juneteenth. This colorfully illustrated story takes kids on an exciting journey through all the events that led up to the first Juneteenth, the day itself, and the impact it had on the future of the United States. What sets this book apart from other Juneteenth books for kids: A thorough history--Kids will learn the Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How of Juneteenth, and take a quick quiz to test their knowledge. A visual timeline--Help new readers grasp important details with a visual timeline that marks the major milestones of Juneteenth history. Today's perspective--Kids can explore thought-provoking questions that help them better understand how the history of Juneteenth affects the world they live in today. Teach new readers about an important piece of African-American history with this kid-friendly Juneteenth book.

On Juneteenth

Weaving together American history, dramatic family chronicle, and searing episodes of memoir, Annette Gordon-Reed's On Juneteenth provides a historian's view of the country's long road to Juneteenth, recounting both its origins in Texas and the enormous hardships that African-Americans have endured in the century since, from Reconstruction through Jim Crow and beyond. All too aware of the stories of cowboys, ranchers, and oilmen that have long dominated the lore of the Lone Star State, Gordon-Reed--herself a Texas native and the descendant of enslaved people brought to Texas as early as the 1820s--forges a new and profoundly truthful narrative of her home state, with implications for us all.Combining personal anecdotes with poignant facts gleaned from the annals of American history, Gordon-Reed shows how, from the earliest presence of Black people in Texas to the day in Galveston on June 19, 1865, when Major General Gordon Granger announced the end of legalized slavery in the state, African-Americans played an integral role in the Texas story.Reworking the traditional "Alamo" framework, she powerfully demonstrates, among other things, that the slave- and race-based economy not only defined the fractious era of Texas independence but precipitated the Mexican-American War and, indeed, the Civil War itself.In its concision, eloquence, and clear presentation of history, On Juneteenth vitally revises conventional renderings of Texas and national history. As our nation verges on recognizing June 19 as a national holiday, On Juneteenth is both an essential account and a stark reminder that the fight for equality is exigent and ongoing.

What Is Juneteenth?

Discover more about Juneteenth, the important holiday that celebrates the end of chattel slavery in the United States. On June 19, 1865, a group of enslaved men, women, and children in Texas gathered around a Union solder and listened as he read the most remarkable words they would ever hear. They were no longer enslaved- they were free. The inhumane practice of forced labor with no pay was now illegal in all of the United States. 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. Author Kirsti Jewel shares stories from Juneteenth celebrations, both past and present, and chronicles the history that led to the creation of this joyous day. With 80 black-and-white illustrations and an engaging 16-page photo insert, readers will be excited to read this latest addition to Who HQ!

  • URL:
  • Last Updated: Jun 14, 2023 10:36 AM
  • Print Page