Resources to Learn About Juneteenth

This article was first published in 2020. It was updated in June 2021.

We are wishing all a meaningful and happy Juneteenth. In that spirit, we are sharing a message sent out to the Texas Law community with links and resources for the Juneteenth holiday. It came from Professor Barbara Bintliff, Joseph C. Hutcheson Professor in Law and Director of the Tarlton Law Library and Jamail Center for Legal Research, and provides the following resources to aid in learning about, and taking action on, the significance of Juneteenth.

“(Juneteenth) is a commemoration that has special meaning in Texas as it marks the day in 1865 when Union Army General Gordon Granger, landing in Galveston with sufficient troops to exert control over Texas, read the federal government’s orders proclaiming all enslaved persons were free,” Prof. Bintliff wrote. “It is now a federal holiday, following the signing on June 17, 2021, by President Joe Biden of S. 475, the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act. Among the sponsors of the legislation were Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) and Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX); their efforts highlight the Texas roots of the celebration and the bipartisan nature of the support for this new law.”

The Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture has compiled an extensive set of resources at Juneteenth: Celebration of Resilience. Included are background and historical materials; musical resources; selected recipes; and reading lists for all ages: early childhood, secondary students, and adults.

Another extensive list of resources can be found at the University of North Carolina Press Blog:  part 1, focusing on the experiences of those enslaved, and part 2, focuses on the celebration of black resistance and freedom.

The New York Public Library has released Free to Be: A Juneteenth Reading List for the Youth! that includes resources for all ages, including adults.

Happy Juneteenth, and hook ’em!