Juneteenth at the Library

Juneteenth illustration of several fists raised in the air. The central fist has chains that have been broken.

Juneteenth is a time of celebration and a time of education. At the heart, Juneteenth celebrates the end of slavery, but it also celebrates hope and the enduring spirit of freedom. We have provided a list of upcoming Library programs, both virtual and outdoors, as well as other upcoming events in the community. We have also included a number of virtual resources and book lists.

Juneteenth logo of raised fist breaking shackles.

virtual juneteenth 101 with levi library

Friday, June 11 – 4:00 PM

Please join the Levi library online as they provide a brief presentation on the history and the significance of Juneteenth!

Virtual Juneteenth 101 with Levi Library

OutDoor Family StoryTime (Juneteenth Celebration)

Saturday, June 12 – 1:00 PM – Frayser Library

Families will have a chance to learn about the Juneteenth Celebration of African-American Independence through historical fiction and non-fiction storytelling, plus explore an art activity.  Registration is required.

Outdoor Family Storytime Juneteenth Celebration

Juneteenth Celebration at Hollywood Library

Thursday, June 17 – 2:00 PM

Join this small event that will consist of:

  • Music from Cameron Ross
  • Spoken Words done by our own Larshay Waton and Justin Watkins 
  • And a brief speech from Telisa Franklin, president of Memphis Juneteenth

Juneteenth Celebration at Hollywood Calendar Details

virtual Juneteenth Celebration featuring Saylor Lynn

Friday, June 18 – 4:30 pm

Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. This is the official Independence Day for Black Americans as it marks the day of their liberation. In honor of the celebratory nature of this annual holiday, we are featuring, Saylor Lynn, musical artist, as our special guest. 

Juneteenth Celebration featuring Saylor Lynn Details

Celebrating Juneteenth outdoor storytime

Saturday, June 19 – 11:30 am – East Shelby Library

Celebrate Juneteenth with some stories and light refreshments following.

Celebrating Juneteenth Outdoor Storytime Details

Memphis Black History Library Card Contest Adult category winner standing with their artwork.

memphis black history library cards

Starting Saturday June 19th, we unveil the new Memphis Black History Library Cards. Pick them up at your local library!

Memphis Black History Library Card Design Winners

Logo of the American Library Association Black Caucus Inc. reward.

ala black caucus Literary award winners

Recipients of the ALA Black Caucus Literary Awards offer outstanding depictions of the cultural, historical or sociopolitical aspects of the Black Diaspora and embody the highest
quality of writing style and research methodology, if applicable.

Logo of the Memphis Juneteenth Festival.

memphis Juneteenth Festival

Friday/Saturday, June 18/19

Locally, Juneteenth has been celebrated consistently since 1991. The Memphis Juneteenth Festival is offering a live event this year. Visit the Memphis Juneteenth Festival website for more information on the festival as well as a local history of the festival.

Visit the Memphis Juneteenth website.

In 2020, Shamichael Hallman, Senior Manager of the Cossitt Library, interviews Telisa Franklin of the Memphis Juneteenth Festival. Listen now! Ms. Franklin has provided some accompanying documents below.

Illustrated book cover of Juneteenth. Several people are happy and cheering for freedom.

juneteenth Books for children

We have several books on the Juneteenth celebration for children.

World Book logo

world book entry on juneteenth

World Book Student is aimed at the upper elementary and middle school level. It includes all the articles from the print versions of the World Book Encyclopedia, plus thousands of additional articles, learning resources, and research tools.

Connect to World Book article on Juneteenth

Blue and red chains breaking on top of a strip background. #blkfreedom Juneteenth,  Justice, Freedom, Democracy


Tuesday, June 15

Ten museums across America including the National Civil Rights Museum are celebrating Juneteenth on June 15.

Visit the blkfreedom website.

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture – Juneteenth resources

“Juneteenth is a time to celebrate, gather as a family, reflect on the past and look to the future. The National Museum of African American History and Culture invites you to engage in your history and discover ways to celebrate this holiday.”

Visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture’s Juneteenth webpage.

Logo of The Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards. Opening Minds. Challenging Minds.

anisfield-wolf book awards

The Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards recognize books that have made important contributions to our understanding of racism and our appreciation of the rich diversity of human cultures.

DPLA: Digital Public Library of America logo.

Digital Public Library of America – Juneteenth

The Digital Public Library of America is a one-stop search for many digital archives across the nation. They include over 6,000 items, including items from our own Dig Memphis, related to Juneteenth.

Visit the Digital Public Library of America – Juneteenth search results.

Logo for the Houston Public Library. Linking you to the world.

Houston Public Library Digital Archives

The Houston Public Library houses the the African American Library at the Gregory School which aims to preserve, promote, and celebrate the rich history and culture of African Americans in Houston, the surrounding region, and Texas. With Juneteenth originating in nearby Galveston, Texas, they have an extensive digital collection of early Juneteenth celebrations.

Visit the Houston Public Library Digital Archives.

Logo of the Coretta Scott King Book Awards.

coretta scott king book awards

Given annually to outstanding African American authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults that demonstrate an appreciation of African American culture and universal human values.

Logo of the Congressional Research Service. Informing the legislative debate since 1914.

Congressional Research Service Juneteenth Fact Sheet

This document by the Congressional Research Service provides a brief overview of Juneteenth for members of Congress.

Review the Congressional Research Service Juneteenth Fact Sheet.

Book cover with image of food and chains titled Taste of Freedom a Juneteenth Celebration Cookbook.

Taste of Freedom Cookbook

From the first Juneteenth celebrations in the 1860s to today, delicious food has always been a part of the festivities. Staff of the Prairie View A&M University and John B. Coleman Library put together this historical cookbook of recipes and archival images of early Juneteenth celebrations in Texas.

Browse the Taste of Freedom Cookbook.

Illustration of an African American holding a phone about to tap on YouTube video.


The Memphis Public Libraries wants to ensure that our local high school seniors and juniors have an outlet to view college campuses online. We have compiled a selection of Historically Black College and University (HBCU) campuses from around the nation for you explore. We hope this helps to keep the conversation and interest going for the upcoming fall semester as teens discover new ways to explore colleges that interest them.

Visit our Virtual HBCU Campus Tours page.