Juneteenth: Resources and Events

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Juneteenth: Resources and Events

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Juneteenth commemorates the day when the last enslaved people in the United States learned that they had been freed, June 19, 1865, more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation. Here are some resources to learn more about this important day.

Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. The holiday marks the day—June 19, 1865—when enslaved Texans found out about the end of the Civil War and the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation….two and half years earlier on January 1, 1863. Juneteenth was declared a federal holiday in 2021.

This is a time to be reminded that history continues to be whitewashed, conveniently silencing parts of our history that we shouldn’t forget. This happens in classrooms through the banning of books, on the streets with laws limiting the right to assemble, and at ballot boxes with the closing of polling places in many communities of color. These things have happened before, and, in some cases, never stopped.

We encourage you to recommit to supporting Black communities not only this day, but everyday. You can do this through continuing to educate yourself and paying attention to the voices you are learning from and listening to. We’ve pulled together some resources below that can provide a place to start.



Local Events

Juneteenth at BCLS
Check out these events to commemorate Juneteenth at Buncombe County Libraries


Hosted by MLK Association, here is a list of celebrations and events in Asheville

Learn, listen, and celebrate

What is Juneteenth?

Henry Louis Gates on the legacy of Juneteenth
Overview of Juneteenth from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. Be sure to look at the Museum’s “Digital Toolkit.”
This New York Times article gives a good overview of Juneteenth traditions, beginnings, and the evolution of a holiday
A moving, joyous, and inspirational playlist from NPR
Another perspective on slavery and the evolution of Juneteenth
Humanity Archive: Podcast #25 – Consideration of the history and meaning of Juneteenth hosted by Jermaine Fowler (40:32)
Celebrate Juneteenth with these 15 films, podcasts, TV shows, albums, and books. From Boston University Today
Take Action
– Sign the pledge; click here to read about the Racial Justice Commission’s Reparations Are Due Campaign
– Now is a good time to consider attending the YWCA’s free virtual three-day Racial Justice Workshop. Upcoming workshop dates are 6/14, 6/21, and 6/28.