In recent years, Juneteenth has risen in prominence. On June 17th, 2021, President Biden signed a resolution to make Juneteenth a national holiday.
What is Juneteenth?
We continue to grapple with the tensions of simultaneously celebrating steps made towards Black freedom and struggling for its total manifestation. Just earlier this year, at the exact same time the guilty verdict of Derek Chauvin was being read in the murder of George Floyd, and the lost life of a precious and beautiful Black girl, Ma’Khia Bryant, after she called the police for help.
This weekend, and every Juneteenth, let’s honor our Ancestors by acknowledging that which is good in our lives and pause to revel in it. Let’s actively build spaces of Black freedom and struggle to make freedom real everywhere. We stand on the shoulders of those who came before us as we inherit the obligation to continue the work to build a free future for all Black people.
This message is inspired by and includes reflections from Melanye T. Price’s “The Ongoing Significance of Juneteenth,” which you can read in full here. Melanye is an Endowed Professor of Political Science at Prairie View A&M University and principal investigator for their African American Studies Initiative. The essay is the first installment in a forthcoming political education program entitled the neXus Project. Working in collaboration with Scholars 4 Black Lives. The project will officially launch this August.
Resources to learn and share:
Grades PK – 5
- Juneteenth Jamboree by Carole Boston Weatherford
- Juneteenth by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson
- All Different Now: Juneteenth, the First Day of Freedom
by Angela Johnson, illustrated by E.B. Lewis
- Juneteenth fo Mazie by Floyd Cooper
Grades 6 – 12
- Juneteenth: A Celebration of Freedom by Charles Taylor
- Tiny’s Emancipation by Linda Baten Johnson
- Come Juneteenth by Ann Rinaldi