Emancipation Day: A celebration of Freedom
Juneteenth (June 19) is the oldest known celebration to commemorate the end of slavery in the US. However, most Americans, including many African Americans, were not familiar with Juneteenth until it received national media attention in 2020 following the tragic death of George Floyd and the nationwide social justice movements that prompted greater awareness about Black and African American experiences.
What is the history of Juneteenth?
Even though the Emancipation Proclamation was signed on January 1, 1863, many African Americans were still being held in bondage. It was not until Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas on June 19, 1865 that the last enslaved African Americans were declared free by General Order No. 3.
Juneteenth celebrations may have begun in Texas, but they soon spread to neighboring states and throughout the nation. Juneteenth became a state holiday in Texas in 1979, and it was first recognized as a federal holiday in 2021 when President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act.
Juneteenth celebrations range from parades to prayer services, from political rallies to festive barbeque events complete with red soda water.
How is LA County Library honoring Juneteenth?
We’ve got some great resources that we’re sure will make your Juneteenth special. You can find Juneteenth-themed movies and music as well as websites in our Additional Resources section below. We also have Juneteenth booklists with specially curated titles that are appropriate for all ages.
A C Bilbrew Library has hosted Juneteenth celebrations for over 15 years, including storytelling, art activities, and an opportunity to reflect on the history of Juneteenth. Be sure to check out what they have on tap for this year.
Please see below for more details and registration info for Juneteenth events at your LA County Library.