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Juneteenth : Home

MC Library's guide to Juneteenth

Welcome to MC Library's guide dedicated to Juneteenth! Here, you will learn about the history and significance behind Juneteenth, along with several book and video recommendations. You will also find helpful research databases and resources from MC, local, and national sources, all dedicated to Juneteenth. 

What is Juneteenth?

A piece from the collection at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.

A piece from the collection at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.


According to Mary Elliot, Curator of American slavery at the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), "Juneteenth is a significant date in American history and the African American experience." On June 19th, 1865, General Gordon Granger led the Union Army into Galveston, Texas, where he publicly announced that all enslaved African Americans were now free. 

Although the Emancipation Proclamation had legally liberated African Americans in rebellious states, including Texas, on January 1st, 1863, and the Civil War had concluded in April 1865, the enforcement of the Proclamation in the rebelling western states, not nationwide, didn't happen until June 19th, 1865, bringing freedom to enslaved individuals.

Juneteenth Flag

The Juneteenth flag commemorates the day in which slavery ended. 

The Juneteenth flag is a symbolic representation of when slavery ended in the United States. Ben Haith, founder of the National Juneteenth Celebration Foundation (NJCF) along with some collaborators, created the flag back in 1997. Boston-based illustrator Lisa Jeanne Graf brought the flag to life. The flag would be revised to the current version used today, and in 2007, the date "June 19, 1865) would be added to the flag. According to Haith, the creation of the flags and its symbols was intentional. The flag features a star, a burst, and an arc. 

  • Star: According to Haith, the star symbolizes both Texas (the Lone Star state) and the liberation of African Americans in all 50 states. Juneteenth was initially celebrated in Texas after the last enslaved people were told of their freedom. 
  • Burst: The outline around the star draws inspiration from a nova, which in astronomy refers to a new star. The burst signifies a new beginning for all African Americans. 
  • Arc: The curve extending across the flag symbolizes a new horizon, new opportunities, and a promising future for African Americans


Videos About Juneteenth

Quick Facts

  1. Why is it called Juneteenth?
    Juneteenth combines the words "June" and "nineteenth". The official name for Juneteenth is 'Juneteenth National Independence Day". 
  2. Why is Juneteenth important and when is it celebrated?
    It commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. Juneteenth is celebrated on June 19th. 
  3. Is it a federal holiday?
    Yes, Juneteenth is considered a federal holiday in the United States. Congress passed legislation to establish Juneteenth as a holiday on June 16th, 2021 and was signed into law by President Joe Biden on June 17th, 2021. 
  4. What other names does Juneteenth go by?
    Juneteenth is also known as Emancipation Day, Juneteenth Independence Day, Freedom Day, Black Independence Day, Juneteenth National Independence Day, and Jubilee Day. 

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