HSD asks: What is Juneteenth?


Parents and students may have heard a lot about Juneteenth recently. So, what exactly is it?

Juneteenth is an annual holiday commemorating the legal end of slavery in the United States. It is a day that has been celebrated by African-Americans since the late 1800s, though it remains relatively unknown, talked about or celebrated by others. The holiday received its name by combining June and the date of 19th. 

This year, there is renewed interest in the Juneteenth holiday, as it is both celebratory and reflective, with the potential to galvanize further social change. 

Use the resources below to talk with your student about this important day, and about racism and injustice. 

Resources for Juneteenth

History of Juneteenth: https://www.juneteenth.com/history.htm

Article: 12 things you might not know about Juneteenth

Books: 10 Children’s books celebrating Juneteenth

Podcast: Today, explained: Happy Juneteenth! (Recorded in 2018)

Listen to the song "Follow the Drinking Gourd." It was sung by slaves, so they could remember all of the directions for the underground railroad. Read this article about the lyrics, background and meaning, from the National Park Service. 

The poem "The Slave Auction" talks about the emotional reality of witnessing an auction from the point of view of a black person in slavery times. Click here to watch a video reading of the poem by Maya Angelou.

Today’s Google Doodle about Juneteenth

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