June 19th, 1865 marks the day Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas with one message: the Civil War was over, and centuries of chattel slavery ended with it. Ever since, this day has represented the celebration of freedom and resistance for Black communities across the country, Texas and beyond. Despite becoming a federal holiday in 2021, Juneteenth is the oldest national celebration of enslaved peoples’ emancipation.
The news arrived to the people of Texas two years after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, yet most students in the United States believe January 1st, 1863 to be the day that ended slavery in the United States (rather than the passage of the 13th Amendment in 1865). To this day, America’s schools have framed slavery as “workers” arriving in America from Africa, asked students to list the “positive aspects” of slavery, and 58 percent of teachers did not believe their textbook covered slavery well.
To celebrate Juneteenth year-round – incorporating its themes of resilience, resistance, freedom, education, human rights, and dignity – we’ve compiled a list of resources for teachers to incorporate into their classrooms and discussions of slavery’s impact on America.
- Check out Juneteenth.com for compiled resources on Juneteenth’s history and celebration and ideas on how you can celebrate in your community.
- Visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture’s upcoming events, webcasts, and educational resources related to Juneteenth and reading lists, resources for youth, and social media toolkit.
- Read Learning For Justice’s teaching plans and resources on teaching Juneteenth.
- Read The New York Times’ article on Juneteenth celebrations.
- Check out Morningside Center for Teaching and Social Responsibility’s lesson plan on Juneteenth.
- Download New York City’s Department of Education’s Juneteenth Resource Guide and resources for both families and educators to help spark ideas for you inside and outside of the classroom.
- Check out this curated list of Children’s Books to Celebrate Juneteenth by the New York Public Library and consider asking your school library to acquire them or adding them to your own classroom library.
- For older students, check out this curated list of books appropriate for teens and young adults from the Johnston library for your library’s consideration.
Do you celebrate Juneteenth? What are some ways that you and your family or community celebrate?
Have a great start to your summer!