• Rebecca Schneider

Juneteenth | History & Legacy

Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration honoring the end of slavery in the United States.

However, the history of freedom in this country can be tangled, and this is no exception.

The Emancipation Proclamation didn’t end slavery. The end of the Civil War didn’t end slavery. But an order issued in Texas by a Union general on June 19, 1865, did. We call that day Juneteenth and we celebrate it every year. But this year isn’t like most years. This year we’ve seen weeks of protests against police brutality, systemic racism, and white supremacy, all sparked by the murders of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd, murders that seemed to jolt the world into realizing that while slavery may have ended in 1865, its legacy lives on.

From slavery to Jim Crow to mass incarceration, racism and state-sponsored, anti-Black and Brown violence have been a fact of life in America for 400 years. So this Juneteenth let’s celebrate and support this growing nationwide movement to wrestle openly and honestly with that history in a way that has never been done before.

As we buckle in and embark on this life-long [un]-learning process, take some time to educate yourself on the legacy of this holiday. Black History is American History.

See below for a few links and resources to learn about Juneteenth - the history, legacy, unknown facts, how to celebrate, and how we as white people can use this holiday to become a better ally. If videos are more your thing, scroll down for a few to start!

9 Things to Know About the History of Juneteenth

10 Facts: The Emancipation Proclamation

About Juneteenth

Black Joy—Not Corporate Acknowledgment—Is the Heart of Juneteenth

Celebrating Juneeteenth

Celebrating Juneteenth: A Reading Of The Emancipation Proclamation

Emancipation Proclamation - Definition, Dates & Summary

Facts you Might Not know About Juneteenth

History of Juneteenth

Honoring Juneteenth: Food As A Form Of Celebration

How to celebrate Juneteenth

Juneteenth 2020

Juneteenth and the Meaning of Freedom

Juneteenth foods to eat to celebrate the historic day

Juneteenth: Fact Sheet

Let Juneteenth be White America's wake-up call to be a better ally

The Historical Legacy of Juneteenth

The Juneteenth flag is full of symbols. Here's what they mean

What is Juneteenth?

What It Means to Celebrate Juneteenth This Year

What to know about Juneteenth and why people are talking about it now

Why celebrating Juneteenth is more important now than ever


The Story Behind the 155-year-old Holiday

Why All Americans Should Honor Juneteenth

What is Juneteenth? 4 things you should know | PBS NewsHour

Celebrating Juneeteenth

Watch the video as the Museum's Founding Director Lonnie Bunch III leads a tour through our Slavery and Freedom exhibition to celebrate #Juneteenth, highlighting stories behind some of our most popular objects, including Nat Turner's bible, freedom papers of free African Americans and a Sibley tent that housed African Americans who ran from Southern plantations in search of freedom with the Union army.