Celebrate Juneteenth!

This Friday, June 19th is Juneteenth, a holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. According to the African American Museum of Iowa:

Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration of the end of slavery in America. After the Emancipation Proclamation was issued on January 1, 1863, owners in many isolated areas kept word from the people they had enslaved so that they would not flee. On June 19, 1865, some of the last enslaved people in America were freed when the news at last reached Confederate Galveston, Texas. Since that day, Juneteenth has been celebrated to honor the African Americans who built this nation.

I personally enjoyed the episode of the podcast This Day in Esoteric Political History discussing Juneteenth and how the holiday has grown in the US from being something primarily celebrated in Texas, but then spread during the Great Migration as outlined in the Warmth of Other Suns.

More information about the African American Museum of Iowa's virtual events taking place throughout the week, June 15-20th, go to their website https://blackiowa.org/juneteenth-2020-celebration/


Additionally the African American Museum of Iowa will be doing a program in conjunction with the Center on Friday June 19th at 2 PM discussing Juneteenth and Emancipation. More information can be found here https://www.icgov.org/event/juneteenth-and-emancipation

Iowa City is also having special Juneteenth celebration the day after on Saturday June 20th on the Pentacrest.


Another online opportunity comes from the Iowa Women's Archive. Join Janet Weaver and Erik Henderson from the Iowa Women's Archives to learn about the history of local civil rights movements from the perspective of Black and Latinx community leaders who fought for change between the 1940s and the present. To attend email Elizabeth Riordan for the a link to the Zoom event at elizabeth-riordan@uiowa.edu

For an in person event for a younger audience, there is the Johnson County Kids Day of Action this Saturday June 20th.

Kids Day of Action

Six black museums and historical institutions in the US will launch BLKFREEDOM.org on June 19, a digital commemoration of Juneteenth, the day that the Emancipation Proclamation was officially enforced. The website will air an original video featuring appearances by Lonnie G. Bunch III, the first African American and first historian to serve as the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, as well as Dr. Johnetta Betsch Cole, anthropologist, educator, museum director and the first female African-American president of Spelman College, and the Honorable Carla Hayden, Librarian of Congress, the first woman and the first African American to lead the national library.


Another way you can celebrate Juneteenth would be by checking out the variety of eBooks and Kanopy offerings highlighting the Black experience in America. Staff picks recommendations can be found here https://www.icpl.org/books-more/staff-picks/lists and Digital Johnson County has a Reading for Racial Justice List with things for kids and adults.

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