In June 2021, over a century and a half after the end of the Civil War, President Biden signed a bill establishing June 19th as “Juneteenth National Independence Day.” For generations, Juneteenth has been celebrated across the United States. Yet, many Americans, especially those who are not African American, know very little about it.
At the May 1, 2023 Sharon Town Meeting, community members voted unanimously to amend the Personnel By-Law by adding “Juneteenth Independence Day.” And while Juneteenth was already a federal holiday, our community came together to show their support and understanding of the importance of June 19th.
If you are looking for ways to start a conversation with your family and friends, give this podcast a listen. The Juneteenth Mixtape podcast with Ibram X. Kendi gives various takes on Juneteenth to reflect on and discuss. https://www.pushkin.fm/podcasts/be-antiracist-with-ibram-x-kendi/the-juneteenth-mixtape
We encourage you to take the time to learn more about the importance of Juneteenth. Use the resources below as a start to diving deeper into the history, celebrations, and significance of Juneteenth.
Books about Juneteenth for adults:
On Juneteenth by Annette Gordon-Reed
Juneteenth: The Story behind the Celebration by Edward T. Cotham, Jr.
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Four Hundred Souls by Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain
The 1619 Project
Stony the Road by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Books about Juneteenth for kids:
Juneteenth for Mazie by Floyd Cooper
Freedom We Sing by Amyra Leon
Freedom Gifts: A Juneteenth Story by Valerie Wesley, illustrated by Sharon Wilson
All Different Now: Juneteenth the First Day of Freedom by Angela Johnson, illustrated by E. B. Lewis
I Thought My Soul Would Rise and Fly: The Diary of Patsy, a Freed Girl by Joyce Hansen
Side note: If you are considering buying any of these books, please consider buying them from a Black owned bookstore:
Juneteenth is celebrated in towns and cities throughout Massachusetts. Below are several local events happening in honor of Juneteenth 2023.