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Although many believe that the Emancipation Proclamation issued by Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863, freed all enslaved people in the South, the dream of freedom did not become a reality for people enslaved in Texas until two years later. General Gordon Granger led his Union troops to Galveston on June 19, 1865, and delivered General Order No. 3, declaring the end of the institution of slavery. Juneteenth commemorates this historic event. In 2021, Juneteenth officially became a federal holiday, and is now recognized in 47 states. The day is often celebrated by large gatherings with food, music, parades and more. Read on to find resources about Juneteenth at the Library!


For more recommendations, download our Juneteenth bookmarks for kids, teens and adults, and be sure to catch our Outreach Team at Henrico Recreation and Parks’ annual Juneteenth Celebrations to enjoy food, music, and fun in the sun!


All Different Now: Juneteenth, the First Day of Freedom by Angela Johnson

A young girl tells the story of her journey to freedom and her first Juneteenth.

Juneteenth by Robin Nelson

A perfect beginner's guide to learning about Juneteenth and the holiday's significance.

Juneteenth for Mazie by Floyd Cooper

Little Mazie reflects on the struggles of the past and comes to learn the true meaning of freedom as she prepares for the Juneteenth celebration.

Opal Lee and What It Means to Be Free: The True Story of the Grandmother of Juneteenth by Alice Faye Duncan

Activist Opal Lee, who successfully advocated for years that Juneteenth be recognized as a federal holiday, encourages children to dream big. As she fights for what she believes in, she educates others about the history of Juneteenth.

The Story Behind Juneteenth by Jack Reader

The news of President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation spreads much slower to enslaved people in Texas. Learn more about the history of the holiday with this informative book.

What is Juneteenth? by Kristi Jewel

A Union soldier delivers celebratory news to a group of enslaved men, women and children in Texas: slavery has been outlawed and they are free.


Crossing Ebenezer Creek by Tonya Bolden

Freed from slavery, Mariah and her younger brother, Zeke, join Sherman's march through Georgia. 

Dark Sky Rising: Reconstruction and the Dawn of Jim Crow by Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Gates presents real-life accounts of the African American experience during the Reconstruction and Jim Crow Era.

Stamped-Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds

Reynolds addresses the origins of racist ideology and identifies how those ideas impact America today in this young adult edition of Dr. Ibram X. Kendi’s National Book Award-winning title.

Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom by Lynda Blackmon Lowery

Lowery shares her personal story as the youngest person to walk from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, during the Voting Rights March in 1965.


Forever Free: The Story of the Emancipation and Reconstruction by Eric Foner

Historian Eric Foner addresses several misconceptions about Black experiences and roles during the period after the Civil War.

On Juneteenth by Annette Gordon-Reed

A Pulitzer and National Book Award-winning historian and descendant of enslaved Texans  reflects on the origins of the Juneteenth holiday and her family’s experience living through several historic moments for Black people in Texas.

A Question of Freedom: A Question of Freedom: The Families Who Challenged Slavery from the Nation's Founding to the Civil War by William G. Thomas

Thomas acquaints readers with the story of enslaved families living in Prince George’s County, Maryland, whose legal battle for freedom against their slaveholders lasted from 1787 until 1861.

 Stamped from the Beginning by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi

In this National Book Award winner, Dr. Kendi explores the history of racist ideology in America.


Take a deeper dive and research more about Juneteenth with scholarly articles available through our databases, such as EBSOhost Research Databases, Explora Public Libraries, Gale In Context: Elementary, and General OneFile.

Our Outreach Team had a wonderful time at Henrico Recreation and Parks' Juneteenth block parties, and hope to see you at their annual celebration! 

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