Resources to help you learn about and engage with Black history, culture, art, and community by celebrating Juneteenth.
Juneteenth represents a significant milestone in American history. Though the Emancipation Proclamation was intended to free all enslaved people, most weren’t granted freedom until nearly three years later on June 19, 1865.
Long observed in the Black community, Juneteenth marks the true end of slavery and celebrates freedom, emancipation, and liberation. It’s also a moment to celebrate the many ways Black Americans have shaped our nation’s culture—from music and art to literature, civil rights, and business.
Recognizing and celebrating Juneteenth in your community is an important way to amplify and honor Black history and culture while also understanding the significance of the holiday in today’s society.
The history of Juneteenth
On September 22, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation to free enslaved Black people in the United States. The proclamation didn’t mean immediate freedom, however. Instead, the proclamation didn’t go into effect until 1863, and even then, it was just a movement on paper. Many Southern slave owners migrated West into Texas in an effort to evade the Union and continue owning slaves.
True liberation happened on June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers marched into Galveston Bay, Texas, and announced that more than 250,000 enslaved black people were free. It’s important to recognize that this day still didn’t include instant freedom for all. Many slave owners were not quick to let slaves go. The fight for emancipation continued and continues to this day against institutionalized racism and systematic oppression.
As of June 2021, Juneteenth is officially a federal holiday. Celebrating the day in the U.S. means recognizing the difficult path toward freedom while celebrating the huge milestone of ending institutionalized slavery.
How to celebrate Juneteenth
There are many ways to celebrate Juneteenth. If you’re in the Bay Area like the HoneyBook HQ, we recommend attending some of the great community events coming up.
If you’re not, we encourage you to find events in your own community or celebrate at home with friends and family. Here are some great ways to celebrate Juneteenth this year.
Online resources for celebrating Juneteenth
- Smithsonian’s Juneteenth page: Explore Juneteenth history, books, and photos from the archives.
- Juneteenth.com’s “How to Celebrate” Page: A one-stop for Juneteenth history, resources, ideas, and merchandise. Connect with other groups celebrating Juneteenth and find fun ways to connect with your coworkers. Includes tips like discussing company diversity initiatives, bringing in a guest speaker, and trivia.
- What Is Juneteenth? From History.com: An educational deep dive into what Juneteenth is and why it’s important with interactive videos and resources.
- Democracy NOW!: Juneteenth: A Celebration of Black Liberation & Day to Remember “Horrific System That Was Slavery”: Democracy NOW!’s 45-minute special on Black liberation and remembering the history of slavery in the U.S.
- Check your local Eventbrite for Juneteenth events: Check Eventbrite for Juneteenth events you can participate in online and in person.
Looking for more? Check out ISTE’s comprehensive list of resources for teaching about Juneteenth.
Support Black artists
- So many musical genres can trace their roots back to Black culture (everyone from Elvis to Riot Grrl), spend some time exploring the vast influence of Black artists by enjoying the many playlists on offer from providers like Spotify and Apple Music.
- June is Black Music Month
- Read books written by Black authors and poets
- Oprah’s list of the 44 Best Books by Black Authors
- 10 Black Authors Everyone Should Read
- Support publishers, like Row House Publishing, committed to elevating the voices of Black authors, and buy your books from Black-owned bookstores
- Seek out exhibitions by Black artists at your local galleries and visit Black-owned galleries in your area. Additionally, you can support independent Black artists on online marketplaces like Etsy.
Immerse yourself in your community’s Black culture
- Dine-in or take-out from Black-owned restaurants
- Visit Black museums, libraries, and/or cultural centers
- African American Museum & Library Oakland
- Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD)
- Civil Rights Museum (offering options for virtual learning)
- Black History Museum and Cultural Center
- National Museum of African American History and Culture
- + more!
How to make an impact
- Volunteer your time (or donate if you are able)
- Fair Fight: Advocates for voter participation
- HeadCount: Promotes voter education and participation in democracy through the power of music
- Rock The Vote: Dedicated to building the political power of young people
- Black Girls Code: Provides technology education to Black girls
- NAACP: Grassroots activism for civil rights
- Common Ground Foundation: Empowers high school students from underserved communities to become future leaders
- Make a financial contribution if you are able (or volunteer your time)
- Support Mutual Aid: A volunteer community-based effort that provides groceries, baby supplies, funds to make rent, etc all across the U.S.
- Loveland Foundation: Therapy fund that provides access to mental health support for People of Color with a specific focus on Black women and girls
- The Bail Project: Working to prevent incarceration and fight against racial and economic disparities in the bail system
- Act Blue: They manage split donations so that individuals can donate to multiple organizations at once
- Black and Brown Founders: They help Black and Brown entrepreneurs launch tech businesses by providing them with community, education, and access
- Check out the Martha P. Johnson Institute this year, which protects and defends Black trans people for the sole purpose of bettering the Black trans community across the diaspora
- Continue listening, engaging with, and learning from the Black community, not just on Juneteenth but all year