Resources for Juneteenth

A Message from the Department of Teaching and Learning

June 19 is Juneteenth, and we wanted to share resources and information with our community to give a better understanding of this important day. Juneteenth has been celebrated for over 150 years, but this is first year it has been recognized by the federal and state government.

On June 19, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger and his Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, and delivered General Order Number 3:

“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 hired laborer.”

This history may not align with the history many of were taught about the end of slavery. The Emancipation Proclamation was signed by President Lincoln on January 1, 1863. Juneteenth.com provides possible explanations of the discrepancy:

  1. A messenger who was murdered on his way to Texas with the news of freedom
  2. The news was deliberately withheld by the enslavers to maintain the labor force on the plantations
  3. Federal troops actually waited for the slave owners to reap the benefits of one last cotton harvest before going to Texas to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation

How do we honor and celebrate Juneteenth?

There are many ways to celebrate Juneteenth, including street fairs and concerts. Because of the holiday’s Southern roots, barbecue is a must, and red foods like strawberry soda and red velvet cake are traditionally served as the color is “a symbol of ingenuity and resilience in bondage,” according to The New York Times.

Additional honors and recognitions occur in learning and finding connections across cultures. Oprah Daily suggests “learning about major firsts from African Americans, read a book by a Black author, catch a film that honors Black life, or support Black-owned companies. But most importantly, remember that all of those things shouldn’t just happen on Juneteenth, but every day. Because it’s never a bad time to celebrate the independence of everyone in our country.”