Celebrate Juneteenth Day!
On June 19th, 1865, Union General Gordon Granger announced per federal order in Galveston, Texas that all slaves in that state were free. Although the Civil War had ended, and the Emancipation Proclamation had been established law two years prior, this was news to the still-enslaved peoples of Texas. This momentous occasion is marked every year in Juneteenth Day celebrations across the country. Often called America’s “second independence day”, it is a day of remembrance, reunion, and rejoicing.
In Milwaukee, the street celebration is a grand tradition going back to 1971. According to retired Northcott Neighborhood House executive director McArthur Weddle, it was inspired by an employee of the community center’s travels in the South, where it had been more widely celebrated. Northcott Neighborhood House continues to be the primary organizer and promoter of the event. A parade, food vendors, musical performances and a Miss Juneteenth Pageant are all part of the celebration.
While it is unfortunate that the event cannot be held as scheduled this year, we always have the opportunity to learn more and, more importantly, teach our children to understand the day’s significance. MPL has several books for children and adults to help broaden your knowledge on the topic.
Juneteenth: A Celebration of Freedom by Charles A. Taylor
Juneteenth: Ring the Bell of Freedom by Lula Briggs Galloway
All Different Now: Juneteenth, the First Day of Freedom by Angela Johnson
Juneteenth for Mazie by Floyd Cooper
Let’s Celebrate Emancipation Day and Juneteenth by Barbara DeRubertis
Please also visit:
Milwaukee's Juneteenth Celebrations Continue Despite Coronavirus - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Talis Shelbourne)
The Historical Legacy of Juneteenth from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African-American History and Culture
What is Juneteenth? by Henry Louis Gates Jr.
The Quintessential Americanness of Juneteenth by Vann R. Newkirk II