Before you say farewell to your students for the summer, take time to recognize Juneteenth, which takes place on June 19.
If you are unfamiliar with Juneteenth, you might know it as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Emancipation Day, or Liberation Day. If none of those holidays ring a bell, Juneteenth is the holiday that celebrates the emancipation of those enslaved in the United States. According to Juneteenth.com, it is celebrated on June 19 because on that day in 1865, Major General Gordon Granger of the United States Army arrived in Galveston, Texas, informing the people that the Civil War was over and the enslaved were free. This was two and a half years after the date President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation became official! The special day has been celebrated every year since with a recent growing recognition of the holiday.
Usually, Juneteenth is celebrated several weeks after the typical school year has concluded. This year, though, many school districts have extended the school year to nearly mid-June. Recognizing Juneteenth with your students would be an excellent end of the school year celebration to bring awareness to this important holiday, and SCETV and PBS both offer resources to help. Palmetto Scene produced a video about a Juneteenth celebration in Rock Hill that can be found on KnowItAll.org. As part of their Confronting Anti-Black Racism collection, PBS LearningMedia offers a PBS News Hour interview clip with professor Mark Anthony Neal discussing the importance of Juneteenth and whether it should be recognized as an official holiday. Support materials for teachers and support materials for use with students are offered too.
Share the significance, history, and celebration of Juneteenth with your students, and Happy Juneteenth!