To know where we're going, it's important to first know where we come from. Juneteenth celebrates the emancipation of those who had been enslaved in the United States prior to the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which abolished slavery nationwide. It now serves as a way to honor those who fought to end slavery and racial injustice, shedding light on issues still facing our nation today.
We are celebrating Juneteenth (also called Freedom Day, Liberation Day, Jubilee Day, or Emancipation Day) with a collection of related titles. Special thanks to our Materials Processing Coordinator, Leah Zande, for compiling this inspiring list.
All electronic titles are available to read online and our physical titles may be requested for pick-up.
Lincoln's Hundred Days: The Emancipation Proclamation & the War for the Union
Masur, Louis (2012)
Lincoln’s Hundred Days tells the story of the period between September 22, 1862, when Lincoln issued his preliminary Proclamation, and January 1, 1863, when he signed the significantly altered decree. As battlefield deaths mounted and debate raged, Lincoln hesitated, calculated, prayed, and reckoned with the anxieties and expectations of millions.
Seizing Freedom: Slave Emancipation & Liberty for All
Roediger, David (2014)
How did America recover after its years of civil war? How did freed men and women, former slaves, respond to their newly won freedom? David Roediger’s radical new history redefines the idea of freedom after the jubilee, using fresh sources and texts to build on the leading historical accounts of Emancipation and Reconstruction.
Who Freed the Slaves: The Fight over the Thirteenth Amendment
Richards, Leonard (2015)
In the popular imagination, slavery in the United States ended with Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. The Proclamation may have been limited—freeing only slaves within Confederate states who were able to make their way to Union lines—but it is nonetheless generally seen as the key moment, with Lincoln’s leadership setting into motion a train of inevitable events that culminated in the passage of an outright ban: the Thirteenth Amendment.
Reconstruction: Voices from America's First Great Struggle for Racial Equality
Simpson, Brooks (2018)
Few periods in American history are more consequential but less understood than Reconstruction, the tumultuous twelve years after Appomattox, when the battered nation sought to reconstitute itself and confront the legacy of two centuries of slavery.
Raising Freedom's Child: Black Children & Visions of the Future after Slavery
Mitchell, Mary Niall (2008)
The end of slavery in the United States inspired conflicting visions of the future for all Americans in the nineteenth century, black and white, slave and free. The black child became a figure upon which people projected their hopes and fears about slavery’s abolition.
Lift Every Voice: The History of African American Music
Peretti, Burton (2009)
Since their enslavement in West Africa and transport to plantations of the New World, black people have made music that has been deeply entwined with their religious, community, and individual identities. Music was one of the most important constant elements of African American culture in the centuries-long journey from slavery to freedom.
The Great Stain: Witnessing American Slavery
Rae, Noel (2018)
The Great Stain tells of repression and resistance in a society based on the exploitation of the cheapest labor and fallacies of racial superiority. Meticulously researched, this is a work of history that is profoundly relevant to our world today.
Defining Moments: African American Commemoration & Political Culture in the South
Clark, Kathleen (2005)
The historical memory of the Civil War and Reconstruction has earned increasing attention from scholars. Only recently, however, have historians begun to explore African American efforts to interpret those events.
Voices of Emancipation: Understanding Slavery, the Civil War, and Reconstruction through the U.S. Pension Bureau Files
Regosin, Elizabeth (2008)
Voices of Emancipation seeks to recover the lives and words of former slaves in vivid detail, mining the case files of the U.S. Pension Bureau, which administered a huge pension system for Union veterans and their survivors in the decades following the Civil War. The files contain an invaluable, first-hand perspective of slavery, emancipation, black military service, and freedom.
Lincoln's Proclamation: Emancipation Reconsidered
Blair, William (2009)
The Emancipation Proclamation, widely remembered as the heroic act that ended slavery, in fact freed slaves only in states in the rebellious South. True emancipation was accomplished over a longer period and by several means.
General Gordon Granger: The Savior of Chickamauga & the Man behind "Juneteenth"
Conner, Robert (2013)
This is the first full-length biography of the Civil War general who saved the Union army from catastrophic defeat at the Battle of Chickamauga, and went on to play major roles in the Chattanooga and Mobile campaigns. Immediately after the war, as commander of U.S. troops in Texas, his actions sparked the “Juneteenth” celebrations of slavery’s end, which continue to this day.
Let's Celebrate Emancipation Day & Juneteenth
DeRubertis, Barbara (2018)
Holidays & Heroes brings to life the people whose holidays we celebrate throughout the year. Enriched with colorful historical images, books in this series will engage children in the stories behind our holidays and the people they honor.