Our district's Teaching and Learning Services department works collaboratively to provide resources and information for lesson planning across all grade levels for Juneteenth. Below are some frequently asked questions (and answers) to help improve our overall understanding. Here are a few things to consider in support of staff and students for these lessons:
- The lessons are meant to generate meaningful learning discussions. We want staff and students to walk away with a clearer understanding of the significance of the day and how it has been recognized over the years;
- Ensure that staff read through articles and watch videos prior to sharing with students to help prepare for the types of questions and discussion;
- Due to the topic, a consideration is for the lessons to be done with an established community of learners with norms and guidance for discussion. For example, as opposed to an advisory type of lesson incorporate the lesson into a social studies, language arts, or art type of lesson. In short, identify ways for optimal engagement;
- Make announcements during the week to prepare staff and students. One option is to announce one FAQ and answer each day. If you have other thoughts on this, please share them with Wil Johnson.
Juneteenth FAQ (Britannica.com)
What is Juneteenth?
Juneteenth is a holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. It is also called Emancipation Day or Juneteenth Independence Day. The name “Juneteenth” references the date of the holiday, combining the words “June” and “nineteenth.”
Origin of Juneteenth
Juneteenth was originally celebrated in Texas, on June 19, 1866. It marked the first anniversary of the day that African Americans there first learned of the Emancipation Proclamation, more than two years after it was initially issued. The holiday was originally celebrated with prayer meetings and by singing spirituals and wearing new clothes to represent newfound freedom. Within a few years, African Americans were celebrating Juneteenth in other states, making it an annual tradition.
Is Juneteenth a federal holiday?
Juneteenth is a federal holiday in the United States. Legislation establishing the holiday was passed on June 16, 2021, and signed into law the following day. Juneteenth had previously been established as a state holiday in Texas in 1980, with a number of other states later declaring it a state holiday or day of observance.
How is Juneteenth celebrated/observed?
Juneteenth celebrations in the United States typically include prayer and religious services, speeches, educational events, family gatherings and picnics, and festivals with food, music, and dancing. The day is also celebrated outside the United States and is used to recognize the end of slavery as well as to celebrate African American culture and achievements.
How did the civil rights movement affect Juneteenth celebrations?
Juneteenth celebrations in the United States declined in the 1960s, overshadowed by the civil rights movement. However, the holiday began to regain its importance in 1968 when the Poor People’s Campaign, originally led by Martin Luther King, Jr., held a Juneteenth Solidarity Day. Interest in Juneteenth continued to increase in the following decades, and the first state-sponsored Juneteenth celebration was held in Texas in 1980.
Resources and helpful links
- Elementary links
- Grades 9-12 - www.learningforjustice.org/classroom-resources/texts/what-to-the-slave-is-the-fourth-of-july
- Grades 9-1 - www.pbs.org/wnet/african-americans-many-rivers-to-cross/history/what-is-juneteenth/