Sunday is Juneteenth – a day that validates the lived and historical experience of Black Americans and American Descendants of Slavery. For me, it’s also a bittersweet day.
On one hand, it’s a day to recognize thousands of enslaved people who were notified of their freedom. On the other hand, it is painful to know there were systems and infrastructures in place that intentionally kept people enslaved.
I recognize Juneteenth by acknowledging those who came before me and honoring the trials and triumphs of their lived experience.
I also think about the last legislative session. We all fought so hard to ensure our educators were allowed to teach and students were allowed to learn an accurate history. Understanding the full history, as well as the present-day structure of the United States, means talking about and accurately recounting major Black historical events — and not just during Black History Month. And let me be clear, these aren’t just Black historical events, these are American events. American events that all students have the right to learn.
I didn’t learn about Juneteenth until college. I believe I ONLY learned in college because I minored in African American studies. My story is sadly not uncommon.
If you are already planning to learn about Juneteenth or to teach your kids, comment below to share what you’re doing.
If you need ideas for ways you can recognize and learn about the importance of Juneteenth and how it connects to the present, check out this brief list to get started:
Websites and articles:
- EJI On this day – June 19, 1865
- NPR: Slavery Didn’t End on Juneteenth. What You Should Know About This Important Day | June 17, 2021
- Juneteenth by Annette Gordon-Reed
- Also check out the Indianapolis Public Library recommended Juneteenth reads
- And if you’re purchasing a book, don’t forget to support Black-owned bookstores
- How To Be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
- Between The World And Me by Ta Nehisi Coats
- Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon
- The Sum of Us by Heather McGhee
- The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois
Listen and Watch: