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Unlike every other American holiday, I never learned about Juneteenth in history class because I went to a 99.9% white school near Boston, and if there’s one thing white supremacy has a handle on, it’s our education system.
June 19th 1865 was the final end of slavery, when the very last enslaved citizens in Galveston, Texas learned they were free to go. Surprisingly (/sarcasm!), the kind of people who enslaved other humans kept the Emancipation Proclamation under wraps FOR TWO AND A HALF YEARS until a force of Union troops arrived to tell the last people they were finally free.
So our non-Black family observes Juneteenth as a time to acknowledge all the things that went wrong, and discuss how much (much, much) farther we have left to go dismantling anti-Black oppression.
When is it?
- June 19th, marking the 1865 milestone
- Alphabet Rockers: Juneteenth music video
- Amber Ruffin Answers Juneteenth FAQs
- What is Juneteenth, and why is it important? (ages 8+)
- Why did it take two years for the last enslaved people to learn they were free? Who had the obligation and power to tell them, but refused?
- Why did it Opal Lee have to work for so long to get the US government to recognize Juneteenth as a national holiday?
- Does our city have a Juneteenth celebration we can support or attend?
Take Action: Non-Black Families
- Support Black family generational wealth & Indigenous land rematriation. Donate to a local organization, or if you can’t find one, check out the Detroit Black Farmers Land Fund.
Dig deeper with these resources:
- Kids books to dig into the history and significance of Juneteenth
- Kids Books Centering Black Futures
- Creating An Anti-Racist Manifesto With Zetta Elliott
- Exploring Black Futures with ‘Freedom, We Sing’
- No White Saviors: Kids Books About Black Women in US History