Juneteenth: A Celebration Syllabus

Juneteenth, a portmanteau of June and nineteenth, celebrates the day when two-and-a-half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, the enslaved Americans in Texas finally learned of its existence, and therefore their freedom. It’s a day that celebrates delayed liberation; a reminder that none of us our free until we’re all free.

Just as the Emancipation Proclamation meant nothing to the people who its message hadn’t yet spread to, Juneteenth reminds us that it takes work and time for the joy of liberation to reach everyone. In our current conversations about abolition, our elders remind us that the key to this work is consistency. The objective of this syllabus is to help you and your families begin that work.

The work however, is also joyful! A recent tweet that lit my heart on fire said to party on Juneteenth and protest on July 4th. The enslaved people had long anticipated their emancipation, and when news of it arrived, they were joyful and celebrated together.

This syllabus provides you with materials to learn about the holiday’s history, choose best how to honor it in your life, and most importantly helps you to celebrate!

History of Juneteenth

What are we celebrating? What role does the state of Texas play? Why isn’t Juneteenth a federal holiday? Use these resources to learn about Juneteenth as an historical event and celebration.

Juneteenth is Queer as Hell

The message of freedom that is centered in Juneteenth has inspired various queer activists, artists, and thinkers to create their own work around the theme. Engage in a few of these for some queer Juneteenth learning.

For Families

Juneteenth is a family celebration. I encourage caregivers to engage in the material to find something that’ll work for your unit, and I encourage teens to read up on Juneteenth on their own and initiate your own celebrations within your families!

For caregivers and kiddos

For youth and teens (13-20)

Listen and Learn

These podcasts are all short introductions to Juneteenth from a variety of viewpoints, all accessible via your favorite podcast app.

Watch and Learn

Documentary and scripted films have all tackled the implications of Juneteenth.

Read about Liberation

If you’re craving even more reading, these books will aid you in your Juneteenth journey of learning, action, and celebration.

Celebrate Juneteenth!

Part of the work of Juneteenth is celebrating the joy that freedom offers us. Whether through music, dance, film, engaging in these celebrations will offer you a chance to partake in the joyous project of liberation.

Ari is a 20-something artist and educator. They are a mom to two cats, they love domesticity, ritual, and porch time. They have studied, loved, and learned in CT, Greensboro, NC, and ATX.

Ari has written 310 articles for us.

7 Comments

  1. thank you so much for this!! i taught the kids i have at camp about juneteenth yesterday so i really appreciate the age range of the materials you linked to. looking forward to diving into more of them, thank you again!

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