Juneteenth Resources

The Meaning of Juneteenth

“Juneteenth is one of the most important events in our nation’s history. On “Freedom’s Eve”, the eve of January 1st 1863, the first Watch Night services took place. On that night, enslaved and free African Americans gathered in churches and private homes across the country awaiting news that the Emancipation Proclamation had taken effect.

At the stroke of midnight, prayers were answered as all enslaved people in the Confederate States were declared legally free. Union soldiers, many of whom were Black, marched onto plantations and across cities in the south reading small copies of the Emancipation Proclamation spreading the news of freedom.

However, not everyone in Confederate territory would immediately be free. Although the Emancipation Proclamation was made effective in 1863, it could not be implemented in areas still under Confederate control. This meant that in the westernmost Confederate state of Texas, enslaved people would not be free until much later. That changed on June 19th 1865, when enslaved African Americans in Galveston Bay, TX were notified by the arrival of some 2,000 Union troops that they, along with the more than 250,000 other enslaved black people in the state, were free by executive decree.”

The Historical Legacy of Juneteenth, National Museum of African American History & Culture at the Smithsonian (written by Tsione Wolde-Michael)


Resources on Juneteenth

Digital access to the original document in the National Archives.

A legal explainer from the Texas State Law Library, with links to key documents.

Resources from the Texas State Library & Archives Commission

An introduction to Juneteenth by the Texas State Historical Association, including images of General Order Number 3, the proclamation by General Gordon Granger concerning emancipation.

A Congressional Research Service report on the history of Juneteenth; federal legislation, presidential statements and other government documents and resources. Updated June 3, 2020.

The National Archives recently located the original handwritten copy of General Order No. 3, informing Texas of emancipation. It will be digitized and added to NARA's catalog.

  • Juneteenth: What Every American Should Know

A Q&A with Lacey Hunter, an instructor in the African American and African Studies Department at the School of Arts & Sciences-Newark (SASN), Rutgers University, Newark.

Reading Materials on Juneteenth

A short introduction to the history and significance of Juneteenth, by Gilbert Cruz, Time, June 18, 2008.

Entry in Patriotic Holidays of the United States: An Introduction to the History, Symbols, and Traditions Behind the Major Holidays and Days of Observance (Omnigraphics Incorporated, 2001).

Elizabeth Hayes Turner, in Lone Star Pasts: Memory and History in Texas (Elizabeth Hayes Turner and Gregg Cantrell eds, 2006).

Brandon Byrd, Assistant Professor of History at Vanderbilt University, discusses the significance of the growing commemoration of Juneteenth.

Noted scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr. discusses the place of Juneteenth in African-American history.

A teaching guide on Juneteenth prepared by Shennette Garrett-Scott and published in Black History Bulletin.

An interview with historian Karlos Hill on Juneteenth and the collective memory of slavery.

ISBN: 9781571681805

Publication Date: 1999-01-01

Anna Pearl Barrett's father founded the black community of Barrett Station in southeastern Texas after emancipation. This book tells how the author and her family celebrated the 80th Juneteenth in 1945.

ISBN: 9780394464572

Publication Date: 1999-05-29

Shot on the Senate floor by a young Black man, a dying racist senator summons an elderly Black Baptist minister from Oklahoma to his side for a remarkable dialogue that reveals the deeply buried secrets of their shared past and the tragedy that reunites them.

ISBN: 1574410180

Publication Date: 1996-10-01

Volume of essays about African American folklore, including reminiscences of African American folk culture in Texas, studies of specific genres of folklore, information about Texas-African food-ways, studies of specific performers, information about songs and other folklore.

ISBN: 9780870496653

Publication Date: 1990-11-08

This lively account traces the evolution of emancipation celebrations from early slave festivals to twentieth-century offshoots like Black History Month and Martin Luther King Day.

ISBN: 9780525559535

Publication Date: 2019-04-02

Henry Louis Gates, Jr., one of the leading chroniclers of the African American experience, seeks to answer that question in a history that moves from the Reconstruction Era to the "nadir" of the African American experience under Jim Crow, through to World War I and the Harlem Renaissance. Through his close reading of the visual culture of this tragic era, Gates reveals the many faces of Jim Crow and how, together, they reinforced a stark color line between white and black Americans.

Video, Audio and Other Media on Juneteenth

A video walk-through of the National Museum of African American History & Culture's exhibit on Juneteenth, with links to additional objects in NMAAHC's collection and other visual resources.

PBS's Juneteenth Jamboree explores the history & entertainment of Juneteenth celebrations.

A day-long symposium on Juneteenth, one of the oldest observances marking the end of the enslavement of African descendants in the United States. The symposium opened with a history of Juneteenth. Three panels followed on "The State of Black Literature," "The "Stakeholders of Black Literacy" and "Independent Artists: Our Journey as Storytellers of the African Diaspora."

A blog entry by the Library of Congress's Folklife Today project, including access to audio recordings and photographs from the American Folklife Center's interviews of former slaves.

A video produced by Alabama Local News about the origin and cultural history of the Juneteenth holiday.

A Columbia University documentary of faculty, students, and staff sharing their personal connections to Juneteenth and placing the holiday into a historical context.

An interview on the DIY Democracy podcast with Annette Gordon-Reed on her new book, On Juneteenth.


Juneteenth Celebrations in Volusia, Seminole and Orange Counties

Volusia County



Name of Event


June 17, 2023

10 a.m.

Daytona Beach -25th Annual Juneteenth Community Festival

25th Annual Juneteenth Community Festival

June 17, 2023

10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Deland-Juneteenth Celebration

Juneteenth Celebration

June 19-20, 2023

10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Deland -Juneteenth Unity in the Community Celebration

Juneteenth Unity in the Community Celebration


Seminole County



Name of Event


June 17, 2023

5 p.m.-10 p.m.

Juneteenth Block Party

Juneteenth Freedom Festival

June 18, 2023

10 a.m.- 2 p.m.

Winter Park -Juneteenth Celebration in Historic Hannibal Square

Juneteenth in Hannibal Square

June 18, 2023

12 p.m.-7 p.m.

Sanford -Juneteenth Street Celebration w/Shantell

Juneteenth Street Celebration


 Orange County



Name of Event


June 17, 2023

11 a.m.-3 pm

City of Orlando Juneteenth Celebration

2023 City of Orlando Juneteenth Celebration Tickets

June 17, 2023

7 a.m.-11 a.m.

Juneteenth Walkathon

2nd Annual Juneteenth Walkathon

June 17, 2023

12 p.m.-10 p.m.

The Central Florida Juneteenth Celebration

Central Florida Juneteenth Celebration