Juneteenth observes June 19, 1865, when Union General Gordon Granger read federal orders in Galveston, Texas, that all previously enslaved people in Texas were free. This was more than two years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation ended slavery on January 1, 1863.
1866 saw the first celebration of Juneteenth in the State of Texas. The holiday was and is observed in the same fashion as July 4, with parties, barbecues and parades. Due to the emergence of violent white supremacist groups during Reconstruction and the early 20th Century, many African Americans were violently intimidated and celebrations of the holiday were suppressed. The Poor People’s March on Washington, which took place on June 19, 1968, reignited interest in Juneteenth and would spur legislation that would ultimately see Juneteenth recognized in 47 out of 50 States.
Today and every day, we encourage our staff and fans to continue to learn more about Juneteenth and the legacy of slavery in the United States. Below are several book, movie and podcast suggestions, as well as forgotten New York City history lessons that can help commemorate the day.
Let's also do our part to help make Juneteenth a national holiday. Take action and add your name to the petition.
FORGOTTEN NYC HISTORY
Purchase any of the books below from New York City-based black-owned bookstores.