I first learned about Juneteenth or Freedom Day a few years ago, and this year will be the first year that I start educating my children about this important day.
On June 19, 1865–two months after the end of the Civil War and two years after the Emancipation Proclamation–the news that all slaves in the United States were free reached Texas. On June 19, 1865, General Order No. 3 was read in Galveston, Texas, informing the last slaves of the Confederacy that they were free. Truly this is a day worth celebrating.
If you are new to Juneteenth, I found some resources to help educate yourself and then also to share with your children. First though, I want to point you to Heritage Mom Blog who posted last week with lots of book recommendations for learning about Juneteenth.
I highly recommend you search your library database for any books pertaining to Juneteenth. The best books to read are the ones you have at your disposal. If you can’t find the books I mention, then take advantage of the any that your library does have.
I will be reading All Different Now: Juneteenth, The First Day of Freedom by Angela Johnson to my kids this year. It’s an excellent picture book that explains Juneteenth in a way that even the youngest children will be able to understand. My library only has two children’s books about Juneteenth, and I preferred this one so it’s what I will be using this year.
I will also show this short YouTube video to my kids as well. It’s a three minute video that explains what Juneteenth is. For older kids, this video from the Smithsonian has a tour guide walking you through their exhibit, Slavery and Freedom.
I will also read to my children General Order No. 3 that was read on June 19, 1865, in Galveston, Texas. It’s short, and I want my children to hear the language of this historic moment. Also reading the Emancipation Proclamation from Abraham Lincoln would be an excellent way to set the background and context for Juneteenth.
Have you celebrated Juneteenth with your family? If so, how do you celebrate? If not, what’s holding you back?