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Juneteenth 2023 by Andrea Neal


Juneteenth image of woman hand spread wide with birds flying around..

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Juneteenth is a hybrid of the words June and nineteenth. It was first recognized on June 19, 1865. In the weeks following General Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox, General Gordon Granger and a regiment of Union army soldiers sailed into Galveston, Texas, and issued a freedom proclamation for nearly two hundred thousand slaves. This was the catalyst for a number of celebrations in the state and throughout the southwestern United States. Currently a Texas state holiday, Juneteenth is commemorated all over the country with parades, concerts, and cultural festivities.

Lincoln Proclaims Emancipation

President Abraham Lincoln signed the first Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862. It was a preliminary document, announcing that emancipation would become effective on January 1, 1863. Enforcement, however, was stalled until the end of the Civil War in April 1865 and the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution on December 18, 1865. Texans were not notified of these developments and did not learn of their freedom until June 19 of that year. It is generally accepted that plantation owners purposely delayed the news announcing the end of slavery in order to orchestrate one final harvest and planting of the cotton crops.

Juneteenth Becomes a Texas State Holiday

Integration, the Great Depression, and World War II contributed to the decline of Juneteenth's emancipation gatherings. In 1979 Houston Representative Al Edwards proposed legislation to make June 19 an official Texas state holiday. The bill became law on January 1, 1980. The renaissance of African American cultural pride and ethnic identification prevalent in the country over the last twenty-five years has helped to resurrect Juneteenth. It is now visible in a variety of places in the United States.

From CREDO: Slavery in the United States: A Social, Political, and Historical Encyclopedia

Juneteenth Galveston, Texas, June 19th, 1865 

Juneteenth started in Galveston, Texas:

"The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and free laborer." 

From --Major General Gordon Granger, Galveston, June 19th, 1865


The Zinn Education Project: June 19, 1865: “Juneteenth” Emancipation Day

From the Zinn Education Project, a history of Juneteenth includes teaching guides and resources.

Video: "The History of Juneteenth"

A 14-minute lecture, “The History of Juneteenth,” by the late Dr. Hari Jones, Civil War Historian and Curator at the African American Civil War Museum, Washington, D.C.

In the Library

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Experience the joy of Juneteenth in this celebration of freedom from the award-winning team of Angela Johnson and E.B. Lewis. This stunning picture book includes notes from the author and illustrator, a timeline of important dates, and a glossary of relevant terms. Told in Angela Johnson's signature melodic style and brought to life by E.B. Lewis's striking paintings, All Different Now is a joyous portrait of the dawn breaking on the darkest time in our nation's history.

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This true story celebrates Black joy and inspires children to see their dreams blossom. Growing up in Texas, Opal knew the history of Juneteenth, but she soon discovered that many Americans had never heard of the holiday. Join Opal on her historic journey to recognize and celebrate "freedom for all." Every year, Opal looked forward to the Juneteenth picnic--a drumming, dancing, delicious party. Follow Opal Lee as she fights to improve the future by honoring the past


Little Mazie wants the freedom to stay up late, but her father explains what freedom really means in the story of Juneteenth, and how her ancestors celebrated their true freedom.

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Juneteenth Texas explores African American folkways and traditions from both African-American and white perspectives. Included are descriptions and classifications of different aspects of African American folk culture in Texas; explorations of songs and stories and specific performers such as Lightnin' Hopkins, Manse Lipscomb, and Bongo Joe; and a section giving resources for the further study of African Americans in Texas.

Book Cover Image


Experience the joy of Juneteenth in this celebration of freedom from the award-winning team of Angela Johnson and E.B. Lewis. This stunning picture book includes notes from the author and illustrator, a timeline of important dates, and a glossary of relevant terms. Told in Angela Johnson's signature melodic style and brought to life by E.B. Lewis's striking paintings, All Different Now is a joyous portrait of the dawn breaking on the darkest time in our nation's history.

Print Book List


Photograph of  Abraham Lincoln

Act of Justice

In his first inaugural address, Abraham Lincoln declared that as president he would "have no lawful right" to interfere with the institution of slavery. Yet less than two years later, he issued a proclamation intended to free all slaves throughout the Confederate states. When critics challenged the constitutional soundness of the act, Lincoln pointed to the international laws and usages of war as the legal basis for his Proclamation, asserting that the Constitution invested the president "with the law of war in time of war." 

Book title aganist a white background; a corner of colorful art work on the lower right side


Juneteenth part of Encyclopedia of African-American Literature, 2013

Black and white photograph of men and women hand plowing and  working on a field

After Slavery

Moves beyond broad generalizations concerning black life during Reconstruction in order to address the varied experiences of freed slaves across the South. This collection examines urban unrest in New Orleans and Wilmington, North Carolina, loyalty among former slave owners and slaves in Mississippi, armed insurrection along the Georgia coast, racial violence throughout the region, and much more in order to provide a well-rounded portrait of the era.

Encyclopedia of African American Society

The Encyclopedia of African American Society is the first comprehensive and accessible reference set in this field to give voice to the turbulent trends, past and present, that are often ignored in favor of mere facts. Although numerous biographical, chronological, and bibliographical reference works exist, none seeks to capture, in a single set, the ways in which the tenets and foundations of African American culture have given rise to today′s society. 

Photograph of a person wearing blue overalls cupping a small wine shaped glass that contains ice and a red beverage

Watermelon and Red Birds

The very first cookbook to celebrate Juneteenth is from food writer and cookbook author Nicole A. Taylor--who draws on her decade of experience observing the holiday. On June 19, 1865, more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston and issued General Order Number 3, informing the people of Texas that all enslaved people were now free. A year later, in 1866, Black Texans congregated with music, dance, and BBQs--Juneteenth celebrations.

Light colored rope with one end unraveling

To Plead Our Own Cause

Boys strapped to carpet looms in India, women trafficked into sex slavery across Europe, children born into bondage in Mauritania, and migrants imprisoned at gunpoint in the United States are just a few of the many forms slavery takes in the twenty-first century. Told in the words of slaves themselves, the narratives movingly and eloquently chronicle the horrors of contemporary slavery, the process of becoming free, and the challenges faced by former slaves as they build a life in freedom.

Web Resources


[Podcast] The Amazing Story of Juneteenth: KERA

Harvard historian Annette Gordon-Reed grew up in Texas, and she joins host Krys Boyd to discuss the history of Texas exceptionalism, an economic model based on slavery and race, and the legacy that remains today. 

Emancipation Proclamation (National Archives & Records Administration)

View parts of the original Emancipation Proclamation from the National Archives.

Juneteenth 101 Document

A publication of the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation.

National Juneteenth Observance Foundation

The Juneteenth Foundation is a 501(C)3 organized by a group of professionals championing the celebration of Juneteenth. In 2021, Juneteenth was nationally recognized and celebrated for the first time ever as a federal holiday in the United States and around the world.

Emancipation Proclamation

On January 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. This research guide compiles digital materials at the Library of Congress, links to related external websites, and a print bibliography.

What is Juneteenth? by Henry Louis Gates Jr (The Root)

A well-written and informative article about Juneteenth and its positive, ongoing effects in America.

Wondering how to get your community involved in celebrating Juneteenth? Check out this page from for suggestions. also provides the historical background for this important marker in history.

[Podcast] The Truth About Juneteenth NPR

June 19th is traditionally embraced as the day in 1863 when slaves in Texas learned they'd been freed. But historian Hari Jones, Assistant Director of the African-American Civil War Museum in Washington, D.C., says many are misinformed about the true significance of the holiday.

Juneteenth Trivia

Tarrant County College Celebrations

The Grandmother of Juneteenth - Ms. Opal Lee

Juneteenth Timeline

Streaming Videos

Texas Institute for the Preservation of History and Culture Juneteenth - A Celebration of Freedom Series

Area Celebrations

TCC Libraries Digital Display Archive

The Tarrant County College District Libraries are pleased to provide a wide assortment of digital displays and online exhibits designed to educate, inform, entertain, and engage our entire community, and to help support the learning experience outside of the traditional classroom environment.  To view more of these web-based displays, visit our Digital Display Archive page.