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Juneteenth Resource Guide

From Bondage to Jubilation: Exploring the History of Juneteenth

Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, is a day dedicated to commemorating the liberation of enslaved Black people from slavery in the United States. On January 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, declaring that enslaved people in the Confederate states were freed from slavery. However, it took two more years for the enslaved people of Galveston, Texas to learn about their freedom when Union General Gordon Granger read General Order No. 3 on June 19, 1865.

The celebration of Juneteenth has a long-standing history and has spread across the country as African Americans migrated. The day is often regarded as a second Independence Day and is celebrated with picnics and parades. On June 17, 2021, Juneteenth was recognized as a federal holiday. The Black Professionals Network held its first Juneteenth celebration at Northwestern University on June 15, 2022.

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Kathleen Bethel’s Top 10 List of Juneteenth Resources

  1. Five Ways to Learn About Juneteenth With The New York Times by Nicole Daniels.  New York Times. June 16, 2021.
  2. Freedom for Everyone: Slavery and Abolition in 19th Century America. Deering Library exhibit of original documents from the Frederick Douglass Collection and Slavery, Enslaved Persons, and Free Blacks in the Americas Collection, and materials from Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies.
  3. “Hot Links and Red Drinks: The Rich Food Tradition of Juneteenth,” by Nicole Taylor. New York Times. June 14, 2017, pg. D3 N.
  4. Miss Juneteenth. 2020 film starring Nicole Beharie, Kendrick Sampson, and Alexis Chikaeze, on a single mom and former teen beauty queen who enters her daughter into the local Miss Juneteenth pageant.
  5. Ralph Ellison: an American journey. Ellison’s famous struggle on his never completed second novel, Juneteenth, published after his death. In the film, friends and critics discuss the book, but it’s a poignant reading by Toni Morrison that brings the novel to startling life.
  6. Songs to believe in: A Juneteenth playlist. NPR (National Public Radio, 2022 3-minute program).
  7. Take the Juneteenth Freedom Walk in Galveston, Texas. Self-guided walk to learn about five historic sites and their importance to Juneteenth.
  8. White Like Me: Race, Racism & White Privilege in America. Explores race and racism through the lens of whiteness and white privilege.
  9. Why Red Food is Significant at Juneteenth Celebrations From TheGrio Politics (3:31mins).
  10. A Woman Called Moses: The life of Harriet Tubman. DVD 200 minutes TV film, written by Lonne Elder, III. Story of Harriet Ross Tubman, who led hundreds of slaves to freedom in the North before the Civil War on the Underground Railroad she founded. Cast: Cicely Tyson, Will Geer and Robert Hooks.


Note: Some resources are only accessible with Northwestern NetID and password credentials.

About Kathleen E. Bethel

Kathleen E. Bethel has dedicated 41 years as Northwestern University’s African American Studies Librarian, from 1982 to 2023. She was also responsible for overseeing Gender and Sexuality Studies and Caribbean Studies as well. She previously worked at Johnson Publishing Company Library, the Newberry Library, and Maywood and Wilmette Public Libraries. Throughout her career, Kathleen has played a significant role in the library profession and as an active member of numerous organizations, including the Center for Black Genealogy, the Project on the History of Black Writing, SonEdna Foundation, Black Caucus of the American Library Association, the DuSable Museum of African American History, the official bibliographer for the Toni Morrison Society, and the Black Metropolis Research Consortium. Her contributions have been recognized through several awards, including the DEMCO/ALA Black Caucus Award for Excellence in Librarianship and the Irma Kingsley Johnson Distinguished Service Award from the Chicago Friends of the Amistad Research Center.

Learn more about Kathleen Bethel

Kathleen Bethel