Celebrating and Reflecting on Juneteenth 2024

woman standing on a stage speaking into a microphone

Juneteenth, also known as Emancipation Day for Black Americans, is an annual holiday observing the end of slavery in the United States. On June 19, 1865, enslaved Black people in Texas learned that slavery had been abolished by the Emancipation Proclamation of January 1, 1863. It took nearly two-and-a-half years for the message of emancipation to reach and be enforced throughout the United States. White people who enslaved Black people in the American South--the Confederacy during the Civil War--carried on enslaving Black people and forcing them to work after the Emancipation Proclamation, as well as for several months following the official end of the Civil War. Thus, as the National Museum of African American History and Culture states, “Juneteenth marks our country’s second independence day.”

Since 2021, we have joined the community in celebrating Juneteenth. We continue this tradition with Juneteenth Community Celebration 2024: Our Brothers' Keepers. In collaboration with Skokie United, Skokie Park District, Skokie-Morton Grove School District 69, Niles Township High School District 219, Village of Skokie, and Skokie Public Library, this event will be held on Saturday, June 15 at Oakton Park. Find more information at Skokie United.

We have additional events at the library to learn more about Juneteenth, including:

We also have ways to read, watch, and listen this month, with lists created by our staff:

For more background on Juneteenth, read The Historical Legacy of Juneteenth from the National Museum of African American History and Culture and Growing Up with Juneteenth by Annette Gordon-Reed for The New Yorker. You can also watch This Is Why Juneteenth Is Important for America by The Root.