Celebrating Juneteenth: Events, Books, & More

June 14, 2022

Juneteenth is a holiday recognized and celebrated by many in the United States and commemorates the emancipation of those who had been enslaved in the United States. Below are recommendations for several events to join in the community and virtually, and books to explore.

Juneteenth Celebration with the Princetonians of Color Network

In celebration of Juneteenth, all Princeton University employees are welcome to join the Princetonians of Color Network to celebrate June 16 from noon – 2:00 p.m. at the Carl. A. Fields Center. Participants are asked to bring a children’s book that promotes diversity and inclusion. Students from SproutU School of the Arts will perform at the Living Museum, and music and food will be available from Morgan’s Island Grill. Please RSVP to attend the event. 

To Do:

June 17, 2022 | Journeying Towards Freedom: An Evening with Dr. Eddie Glaude, Jr. & Special Guests at Longwood Gardens 
This event, held at Longwood Gardens from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m., will feature Dr. Eddie Glaude Jr., Department of African American Studies Chair at Princeton University. Dr. Glaude will focus on the urgent necessity of continuing the freedom work of Juneteenth and ways in which that work can continue.

June 19, 2022 | Philadelphia Juneteenth Parade & Festival
Launched locally in 2016, the annual Philadelphia Juneteenth Parade & Festival has grown into a daylong event. This year, attendees can head to West Philadelphia for a parade beginning at 52nd Street and Parkside Avenue, including nonprofits, dance groups, schools, floats, bands, and more. The celebration continues at Malcolm X Park with local merchants, food vendors, art exhibits, and Covid-19 testing and vaccination.

June 17-19, 2022 | Juneteenth New York
With more than 155 years of this anticipated commemoration in Brooklyn, NY, the 13th Annual Juneteenth family fun day gathers 5,000+ attendees locally to the NYC community to enjoy a vibrant day of rich culture through music, dance, poetry, skits, history, vendors, and fun. This is a three-day day festival starting on June 17 and running through June 19, 2022.

To Watch:

Celebrating Juneteenth: A Conversation with Dr. Tera Hunter                                                                                                                                
In this informative discussion for Princeton employees, Dr. Tera Hunter, the Edwards Professor of American History and Professor of African-American Studies, explores the history, context, and personal meaning of the Juneteenth.

Celebrating Juneteenth: The Legacy of Frederick Douglass with Eddie S. Glaude, Jr. & David W. Blight    
In a conversation to celebrate Juneteenth, historians David W. Blight and Eddie S. Glaude, Jr. (moderator) delve into the life of one of the most important figures of the 19th century, writer, orator, and abolitionist Frederick Douglass, and how his legacy continues to resonate today.

Juneteenth: Connecting the Historic to the Now
In this panel discussion, scholars are invited to explore the origins of Juneteenth through the lens of federal versus states' rights and discuss the historical and current political significance of the holiday. Panelists: Imani Perry, Hughes-Rogers Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University; Jelani Cobb, Ira A. Lipman Professor of Journalism at Columbia University; Annette Cordon-Reed, Carl M. Loeb University Professor of History, Faculty of Arts, and Sciences at Harvard University, and Kevin Young, Andrew W. Mellon Director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture who will moderate.

Juneteenth: Past, Present, & Future
In this episode of the African American Studies Department’s podcast, hosts Ebun Ajayi and Mélena Laudig talk with Professor Joshua B. Guild about the past, present, and future of Juneteenth and pose several questions: When we talk about Juneteenth, sometimes called America's second Independence Day, what exactly are we talking about? How has the end of slavery been celebrated across time in Black communities? What political obligations does its commemoration bring to the fore?

To Read:

On Juneteenth by Annette Gordon-Reed
In the book, Gordon-Reed shares the story of Juneteenth's importance to American history. Weaving together American history, dramatic family chronicles, and memoir, Gordon-Reed provides a historian's view of the country's long road to Juneteenth, recounting both its origins in Texas and the hardships that African-Americans have faced since.

The Matter of Black Living: The Aesthetic Experiment of Racial Data, 1880–1930 by Autumn Womack
This book excavates the dynamic interplay between racial data and Black aesthetic production that shaped late 19th century social, cultural, and literary atmosphere. Through assembling previously overlooked archives and seemingly familiar texts, Womack shows how these artists and writers recalibrated the relationship between data and Black life. The result is a fresh and nuanced take on the history of documenting Blackness. The Matter of Black Living charts a new genealogy from which we can rethink the urgent political and aesthetic work of racial data.

The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson
From 1915 to 1970, the exodus of almost six million people who fled the South for northern and western cities in search of a better life changed the face of America. The book is a riveting microcosm and a major assessment. Through the breadth of its narrative, the depth of its research, and the fullness of the people and lives portrayed, this book is destined to become a classic.

Additionally, The Juneteenth Reading list celebrate fictions and nonfiction by African American authors that continue to shape our culture, celebrate liberation, and acknowledge the ongoing work towards freedom and equality, still necessary more than 150 years later. Children's Books On Celebrating Juneteenth is a listing of several children’s books to explain Juneteenth to children at various ages.