For Adults



June 19th is Juneteenth, a day set aside to commemorate the day Texas slaves first learned about emancipation, more than two years after President Lincoln signed the emancipation proclamation. Union army general Gordon Granger made the announcement in Galveston on June 19, 1865, making Texas the last state to hear the news. Juneteenth is not a widely known celebration but is a crucial piece of the complex series of announcements, documents and events that eventually lead to the passage of the 13th amendment:

Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

In this 2013 NPR News interview What the Emancipation Proclamation Didn't Do, Lonnie Bunch III, historian, founding director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of African-American History, and current Secretary of the Smithsonian, said the following about remembering the history of emancipation:

"Well, I think that on a very specific notion, I would love people to realize that African-Americans were agents in their own liberty. I think that that's an important piece, rather than simply the notion, if you look at the movie "Lincoln," it seems as if Lincoln freed the slaves, rather than it's part of a complicated nuanced puzzle that led to emancipation.

But, I think the other part that's so important to me about this moment is this is a moment for Americans to remember that you can believe in a change that you can't see. That the Emancipation Proclamation, slavery was something that everybody knew was going to exist forever except for a few fanaticals. But suddenly the Emancipation Proclamation began America on a trajectory that ultimately led to a fundamental change in citizenship and equality. And so what I hope is that people would realize that they have a right to demand and effect change because change is possible in this country."

Learn more about Juneteenth


Live on Friday, June 19 at 9:00 a.m. ET Secretary of the Smithsonian and the founding director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture, Lonnie G. Bunch III, will join Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart for a one-on-one conversation on the legacy of Juneteenth, the commemoration of the ending of slavery in the U.S. They will discuss race, recent protests against police brutality, and his role as the first-ever African American Secretary of the Smithsonian.

The History of Juneteenth and Systemic Racism & Solutions Live on Friday, June 19 at noon ET Join the Eiteljorg Museum for a zoom conversation with Dr. James C. Anyike, Lead Servant/Pastor of Scott United Methodist Church and Tammy L. Cooper, Black History Educator and College Professor about the History of Juneteenth and Systemic Racism & Solutions. Juneteenth, or Freedom Day, is a holiday commemorating the enforcement of the abolition of slavery in Texas in June 1865. Registration is required. Please click here to register today. Zoom instructions will be emailed prior to the event.

#KidLit4BlackLivesCanada Rally Live on Friday, June 19 at 7:00 pm Author Nadia L. Hohn is hosting a #KidLit4BlackLivesCanada Rally. The event will feature sessions for kids, teens and parents/educators/librarians. Tune in on FaceBook Live @A Different Booklist Cultural Centre and Zoom.


Social and Systemic Injustice Documentaries to Stream You can stream a variety of social justice documentaries on Kanopy, a streaming service available to you with your IndyPL library card. Their documentary collection is . If you have never borrowed from Kanopy before directions and a video tutorial are available.

Video Tour of the National Museum of African American History and Culture Exhibit Slavery and Freedom Watch a video of Lonnie Bunch III, founding Director, lead a tour through the Slavery and Freedom exhibit to celebrate Juneteenth, highlighting stories behind some of the museum's most popular objects.

The Center for Black Literature & Culture Recording of the Online Book Fest discussion: Blacks and the Vote The online discussion included the importance of voting, inspired poetry from local performers, and a moderated panel discussion about what voting means in today's America.(Note - this recording misses the first few minutes, and picks up after featured speaker Priestley Johnson already began.)

Slate Interactive: The Atlantic Slave Trade in Two Minutes


Read this (short):

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Juneteenth News to Follow:

Authors To Celebrate Juneteenth With New Festival The new festival will feature Black authors and publishing professionals to "boost and celebrate Black American stories and the people behind them."

IndyPL Recommends: Juneteenth Reads

Below we have selected reads on the history of Juneteenth, emancipation and freedom, reconstruction, and celebration. All descriptions come from the book jackets or publishers of these works. #indyPLadults #indyPLteens #weneeddiversebooks #ownvoices


A Novel

Ellison, Ralph

Shot on the Senate floor by a young black man, a dying racist senator summons an elderly black Baptist minister from Oklahoma to his side for a remarkable dialogue that reveals the deeply buried secrets of their shared past and the tragedy that reunites them.

Come Juneteenth

Rinaldi, Ann

For ages 12 and up, Fourteen-year-old Luli and her family face tragedy after failing to tell their slaves that President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation made them free.

Closer to Freedom

Enslaved Women and Everyday Resistance in the Plantation South

Camp, Stephanie M. H.

Recent scholarship on slavery has explored the lives of enslaved people beyond the watchful eye of their masters. Building on this work and the study of space, social relations, gender, and power in the Old South, Stephanie M.H. Camp examines the everyday containment and movement of enslaved men and, especially, enslaved women. In her investigation of the movement of bodies, objects, and information, she extends our recognition of slave resistance into new arenas and reveals an important and hidden culture of opposition.