How to talk to your kids about the history of Juneteenth

For Parents May 28, 2021

Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, commemorates the end of slavery in the south on June 19, 1865.  While the Emancipation Proclamation was enacted on January 1, 1863, the law was not immediately enforced. Because of this, many enslaved African Americans did not know they were free until Juneteenth, over two years later.

On June 19, 1865, the Union General Gordon Granger and his army arrived in Galveston, Texas to announce that the Civil War had ended and all enslaved African Americans had been freed by President Lincoln’s signing of the Emancipation Proclamation.

While many celebrate July 4, 1776, as Independence Day in the United States, for African Americans like myself, June 19, 1865, is our Freedom Day.  It was later shortened to Juneteenth combining June and Nineteenth.

A learner created this Juneteenth flag in an Outschool class called "African American Stories: Juneteenth Story and Flag Craft"

So, how can you talk to your kids about the history of Juneteenth? Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Educate yourself with resources about Juneteenth

As we pursue social justice to create positive change in our nation and in our world, it has to begin at home. Juneteenth is a great way to start to open up the dialog.  Having an open discussion regarding two “independence” days is a great way to start.  One of the most important questions to consider is: Why do African Americans feel there is a need to celebrate June 19?

Teacher Elaine offers a 5-day Juneteenth camp, where learners can explore the history of Juneteenth through art, music, food, activities and discussions.

If you don’t know the answer, consider doing the following:

Share important lessons about Juneteenth with your children

After educating yourself about Juneteenth, share with your children what you’ve learned. You might also want to consider some of the following activities:

Outschooler shares her Juneteeth Flag coloring page
This Outschooler shares her Juneteeth Flag coloring page.

Celebrate Juneteenth with your family!

Discuss ways you can celebrate Juneteenth with your family!

Here are some ideas:

By educating our children and doing some of these simple actions, we can help the fight for social justice in our nation and in our world.

Explore Juneteenth-themed Outschool classes

Andrea Hall

Andrea is a busy, working homeschool mom of three. When she is not teaching her kids or others on Outschool she enjoys designing graphics, curriculum, and other pretty things :-)