The holidays of Emancipation Day and Juneteenth are occasions for learning about the U.S. history of slavery, abolitionism, and emancipation.
In order to learn the meaning and significance of “Emancipation” and “Juneteenth,” readers first learn about “a terrible part of America’s history called slavery” and the brave heroes and heroines who fought to end it. A section called “How Did Slavery Begin in America?” explains how traders brought captured Africans across the ocean in chains, then sold them in markets to white owners, who became dependent on slave labor. This section points out that the rights and equality established in the Declaration of Independence did not include the enslaved population. Next, sections on Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, and Harriet Tubman describe the hard work that such abolitionists undertook. A section on the Civil War includes the Compensated Emancipation Act and the military operation Harriet Tubman led to help the Union Army rescue slaves. This section includes mention of the “Black Codes” that limited African-Americans’ freedom for many more years. The final few pages detail the history of the District of Columbia Emancipation Day holiday and the origin and traditions of the Juneteenth celebrations in Texas and elsewhere. Vivid modern photographs and historical illustrations cover half of every spread. Packed with information but more engaging than a textbook, this volume, like others in the series (Let’s Celebrate Women’s Equality Day publishes simultaneously), uses an honest yet positive approach to presenting the fight against injustice in U.S. society.
A solid option for introducing the historical context of the holidays. (Nonfiction. 7-11)