How to Celebrate Juneteenth with Children
Yay! Juneteenth is here! What is Juneteenth you may ask? Read on to discover the history of this African American holiday.
Juneteenth is also called Emancipation Day or Jubilee Day and is the celebration of the last enslaved people in Galveston Texas learning they were free. This was important because they were actually supposed to be free as of January 1st, 1863 when the Emancipation Proclamation declared all enslaved people should be freed in the rebellious states. Enslavers were not keen at all on losing their free and forced labor force (enslaved Black Americans) so they didn’t let them know about their impending freedom.
It took the Union Army finally coming to Galveston, Texas on June 19th, 1865, and announcing that the enslaved Blacks Americans were now free. We can imagine this caused parties in the street and now we celebrate Juneteenth to commemorate this date.
Here is a great video to learn more about the holiday (TW: there is talk about lynching and a description of it so definitely best for older children and adults).
Here is the direct quote from General Granger announcing enslaved were now free:
"The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor."
— General Orders, Number 3
Headquarters District of Texas, Galveston, June 19, 1865
How do people celebrate Juneteenth now?
During the week of Juneteenth, you will see parades, barbecues, and a lot of educational events designed to help educate the population about this important milestone.
How can you celebrate Juneteenth with kids?
A great idea when teaching History from a Decolonized Perspective is to be as honest as you can in a way that is developmentally appropriate. For all ages, reading books on the topic is a great way for children to teach history. Other ideas include actually celebrating it as well, but be sure to discuss the importance of the date and why you are celebrating. We also put together a Juneteenth activity pack for your students to learn more about this holiday and it is great for kids ages 4 to 13 so check it out and hopefully, they will feel a bit more knowledgeable about the importance of Juneteenth!
Here is a recap of how you can celebrate Juneteenth with your kids.
Find Local Events about Juneteenth or try a class online about the holiday
Try our Juneteenth Pack to learn more about this holiday and open up discussions
Watch educational videos about Juneteenth with your kids. I love this BrainPop for kids!
If you feel comfortable, have your own Juneteenth Celebration at home. Get dressed up, drink and eat red foods, and remember the enslaved people who became free-ish on June 19, 1865.