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Celebrate Juneteenth! Local Festivities (& Reading List)

Juneteenth 2021

Happy Juneteenth! Juneteenth is the day marking when enslaved people in Texas found out they were free two years after President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. The day is a celebration of freedom and Black cultural achievements, as we reflect on the past and build a more equitable future. Below is a list of local festivities and reading recommendations to explore this celebration of freedom.

Celebrate Locally

Collinsville | Saturday, June 19th | Noon | Woodland Park

The Juneteenth Festival at Woodland Park in Collinsville will host free carnival games, music, vendors, free counseling information, and books from local authors. It will also feature a 3 on 3 basketball tournament.

Missouri History Museum | Thursday June 24th |10:30 am

Listen to Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall, make a craft or discover Black History through an interactive scavenger hunt.

National Blues Museum | St. Louis | Saturday, June 19th | 11:30-8:30

Celebrate Juneteenth with all day Blues at the National Blues Museum! Renaissance Band, Sha & Her Ka’sha Band, Lady J Huston Show, and Marty D Spikener’s On Call Band will be playing. Bring a chair and stay and join the celebration!

Jones Park | East St. Louis | Saturday, June 19th | 9-6

The festivities will start off with the Juneteenth Motorcade, followed by a flag ceremony at city hall. The festival at the park starts at 11, which includes music, entertainment, kids activities, vending, and more!

Delmar Loop | St. Louis | June 19th 11-8 | June 20th 1-6:30 | June 21st 1-6

This three day music & arts festival kicks off with the Juneteenth Market which features poetry, spoken word, essays, and songs about the Harlem Renaissance and Black Arts Movement. Stay to listen to Mathew Foggy to speak on Hype the Stripe movement, a dance troop, vocal music, theatre, arts and design. The event will take place on June 19th at the Market in the Loop. For the rest of the weekend, be sure to catch headliners like the Slums STL, Red & Black Brass Band, and Master Blaster, along with many other performers!

Books about Juneteenth

Adult & Young Adult

Take a look at historical photographs and records from the 1860’s to see what emancipation looked like for newly liberated African Americans, including photographs of plantation workers, portraits of families, Black Union soldiers, and Juneteenth celebrations, and post-slavery reunions.

Grades Preschool-2nd

Maizie wants the freedom to stay up late past her bedtime, but her father takes this opportunity to teach Maizie what freedom meant to their ancestors, specifically about the Juneteenth liberation. Learn along with Maizie and imagine the first Juneteenth Celebration.

Grades 3rd-5th

Juneteenth is young June’s favorite holiday, but when her New York cousin, Lillie, comes to visit the family in Texas, Lillie does not understand the holiday or why it is important. The novel is set in 1943, and the girls’ great-great Aunt Marshall was around their age on the first Juneteenth in 1865, and while much has changed since then, there is still work to be done so that the fight for freedom continues on in other ways. That is why Juneteenth must be celebrated.

Grades Kindergarten-3rd

This nonfiction book teaches young readers about the history of the holiday. Take a look at the first Juneteenth and then dive into Juneteenth traditions across the country, such as the culture, music, parades, food, events, and more!

For more reading, visit our online SHARE Catalog to explore more books, and request them from our 500+ libraries in our system!

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