This Sunday is Juneteenth. Long celebrated in Black communities, Juneteenth commemorates a specific date — June 19, 1865 — the day enslaved people in Texas learned they had been freed, though the Emancipation Proclamation issued in 1863 had freed them far sooner. This day is traditionally used to mark the end of slavery in the United States. Last year, President Biden, with strong support from Congress, signed a bill that declares Juneteenth a federal holiday to be commemorated each June 19th.
Juneteenth is a time to reflect on history, our relationship with it, and how that history influences the ongoing reality of our nation. It is a time to celebrate Black achievement and brilliance and the Black community’s continued contributions to our society despite having suffered centuries of injustice and trauma. As an organization proud to serve many Black clients and that benefits daily from the contributions of Black staff, ChicagoCAC is proud to celebrate Juneteenth. We’re committed to supporting Black lives and ensuring Black children who’ve experienced abuse have a chance to thrive.
To help you celebrate and learn more about this unique holiday, our staff compiled a list of Chicago-area Juneteenth celebrations and some kid-focused resources. We hope you’ll take the time to attend, or even to just learn more about efforts to improve racial equity in our city and beyond.
- The DuSable Museum – a favorite destination for members of our African American Advisory Council and a testament to Chicago’s history of Black Excellence.
- Choose Chicago: Celebrate Juneteenth
- Block Club Chicago’s Ultimate Guide to Juneteenth
Juneteenth is an important holiday to discuss as a family as we continue to raise anti-racist kids. Here are some Juneteenth books below to add to your family home library.
All Different Now: Juneteenth, the First Day of Freedom by Angela Johnson; best for ages: 5-9
All Different Now tells the story of the first Juneteenth celebration with beautiful illustrations and through a perspective of a young girl.
Juneteenth for Mazie, by Floyd Cooper; best for ages: 6-9
Mazie is celebrating Freedom Day and while she’s tried hearing “no” from her father, he explains to her how her great-great-grandpa Mose heard no even more until he was finally free from slavery.
Juneteenth, by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson and Drew Nelson; best for ages: 7-10
Why was June 19, 1865 such a significant day for enslaved people in Texas? This picture book explains the significance of the Texas event and how it became a holiday celebrated nationally.
Juneteeth Jamboree, by Carole Boston Weatherford; best for ages: 8-12
Cassie joins her family to a Juneteenth celebration in their community. There, she learns more about the Texas tradition and why it took so long for enslaved people in the state to hear the news of the Emancipation Proclamation.
Black-Owned Businesses and Products
Chicago is filled with some amazing Black-owned businesses including clothing stores, restaurants and more, and Chicago Parent created its own family-focused list as well. Also, South Loop store Kido is selling Juneteenth onsies and tees that look amazing!