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Public Library

2024 Juneteenth

Red, yellow, and green flowers are centered above the word ”Juneteenth.”

Juneteenth, which is also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, celebrates the end of slavery in the United States. This holiday commemorates the emancipation of enslaved African Americans in Texas on June 19, 1865. Juneteenth is significant because it celebrates the resilience of African Americans people, their achievements, resilience, culture, and liberation. 

There is no single date that marks the end to slavery. On January 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, an executive order that declared that all enslaved Black people in Confederate-held states were to be set free. However, the order did not apply to parts of the Confederacy or Southern secessionist states that were under Northern control. Isolated from the war and having less Union soldiers in Texas, slaveholders more easily avoided the implementation of the proclamation. Following the defeat of the Confederacy and the end of the Civil War, Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas to issue General Order No. 3, to inform Texans that all enslaved Black people were free.

Although Juneteenth has long been celebrated by African Americans since the late 1800s, the holiday gained more interest following the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020. The San Diego Unified School Board officially recognized Juneteenth in a board resolution in 2020. In 2023, the City of San Diego recognized Juneteenth as an official holiday. Juneteenth is often celebrated with family gatherings, parades, festivals, food, and cultural events. At San Diego Public Library, we recognize Juneteenth through programs, book displays, and booklists.


Author Program

Author Trisha R. Thomas leans against a column. The cover of her latest book, The Secret Keepers of Main Street, hangs in the righthand corner

Book Launch for Trisha Thomas’s “The Secret Keeper of Main Street”
Saturday, June 15, 2024 | 4-6 p.m. | Central Library, 9th Floor Shiley Special Events Suite

Trisha R. Thomas, award-winning author of 14 books, including the popular Nappily series that was made into a Netflix film, presents her latest work of historical fiction, The Secret Keeper of Main Street. Q&A and book signing will follow the presentation.

Pre-order a copy in advance. Proceeds support the San Diego Public Library System. Presented by the Library Foundation SD.


Featured Program

The covers of two children’s books by Alliah L. Agostini, The Juneteenth Store and The Juneteenth Cookbook, are prominently displayed

Book Distribution in Celebration of Juneteenth
Saturday, June 15, 2024 | 12-1 p.m. | Oak Park Library

A limited number of autographed copies of The Juneteenth Story and The Juneteenth Cookbook by Alliah L. Agostini will be given away. Light refreshments will be provided courtesy of the Friends of the Oak Park Library. While supplies last.


Children's Programs

A Muslim girl, a Black girl, and an Asian boy share a book together

Celebrate Juneteenth: Make a Pan-African Flag
Wednesday, June 12, 2024 | 4 - 5 p.m. | Carmel Valley Library

Celebrate Juneteenth Freedom Day by making a Pan-African flag painting using red, green, and black paint, white cardstock, clothespins, and cotton balls. For ages 5 and up. No registration needed and materials are provided.

Juneteenth Toddler Program: Fingerpainting 
Thursday, June 20, 2024 | 10 - 11 a.m. | North University Community Library

Freedom and the history of slavery can be difficult concepts for young children to understand. However, Juneteenth is an opportunity for children of all racial and ethnic identities to learn about the history of slavery in the United States and the resilience of Black people. During this toddler-friendly art program, we invite toddlers and kids of all ages to join us for mess free finger painting. We hope that this program is only one part of a lifelong conversation about race, history, and culture, for our children.

Juneteenth Bilingual Storytime
Thursday, June 20, 2024 | 10:30 - 11 a.m. | Skyline Hills Library

What is Juneteenth? A holiday celebrating when the last slaves in America were finally told that they’d been freed. We’ll be reading two very special stories to learn about and celebrate the holiday. Make sure to stick around for crafts right afterwards and join us for Summer Lunch at 12 p.m.