“Juneteenth” commemorates the day when U.S. federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas on June 19, 1865, and spread news that African Americans were no longer enslaved thanks to the Emancipation Proclamation. Chattel would legally end later that year when the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified on December 18, 1865.
Though widely celebrated by African Americans across the U.S., Juneteenth remains a mystery to many. Here’s a short list of good articles that I’ve found that will help you get a flavor for this unique holiday.
“Celebrating a Second Independence Day: A Juneteenth Reading List,” Danielle Tcholakian, Longreads.com, 2017.
“Juneteenth: The Black American Holiday Everyone Should Celebrate but Doesn’t,” by Jamelle Bouie, Slate, June 19, 2015.
“Hot Links and Red Drinks: The Rich Tradition of Juneteenth,” by Nicole Taylor, New York Times, June 13, 2017.
“Juneteenth at Mama Sugar’s,” by Robb Walsh, Houstonia, June 20, 2013.
“Relish Austin: Embracing the Juneteenth Spirit,” by Addie Broyles, Austin Statesman, June 17, 2014.
For a book that gives a broader historical and social context for Juneteenth, I highly recommend: O Freedom! Afro-American Emancipation Celebrations (University of Tennessee Press, 1990) by William H. Wiggins, Jr.
May your Juneteenth, whenever you celebrate it, be filled with good times, great barbecue and ever-flowing red drink!