Commemorating Juneteenth

Have you ever read Juneteenth for Mazie? Mazie wants to have the freedom to do lots of things. She wants to stay up late and doesn’t want to hear the word “no.” When Juneteenth rolls around, she’s feeling like she can never do anything that she wants. Then she learns about her Grandpa Moses, who was enslaved. He didn’t have the freedom to do what he wanted, but he had faith. One day, he was free. He and his family celebrated Juneteenth to remember the struggles African American people faced every day. Mazie was proud of all the freedoms her ancestors fought for and the dreams she had for the future.

What is Juneteenth?

Juneteenth is a celebration of freedom and African American history. June 19, 1865, was the day that slavery was abolished in Texas. A group of soldiers told slaves they were freed at an announcement in Galveston, Texas. The news spread quickly. People celebrate on that day to honor their history and their freedom.

Where is it celebrated?

The first time Juneteenth was a holiday was in Texas. Other cities soon followed. Juneteenth is observed across the country from Washington, D.C., to Los Angeles. It’s celebrated to recognize the independence of enslaved people. In 2007, Governor Deval Patrick made it an official holiday in Massachusetts.

How can we celebrate?

Juneteenth is celebrated with food and fun parties. The parties highlight community and success. Families and friends serve BBQ and red drink (strawberry flavored).  Sometimes, people reenact the Civil War and tell stories. There are lots of fun things to do right here in Boston! The Boston Public Library’s Bibliocycle will appear at a celebration at the Museum of African American History in Roxbury. Check the Bibliocycle schedule for more information.

Juneteenth for Mazie is one of many excellent books about Juneteenth for young people. Check out these Juneteenth stories and histories for kids, available at the library.