Juneteenth at the Library

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. In honor of the 155th anniversary of Juneteenth we have pulled together this list of virtual events and resources so the entire family can still celebrate Juneteenth together.

Virtual Juneteenth Celebration @ the Library

We had several Zoom events on Friday June 19th. View recordings of some of them below:

10:30 AM – Join Morgan on Zoom for a special Juneteenth Story Time for children. Details HERE.

12:00 Noon – Juneteenth Celebration featuring Saylor Lynn. This event was recorded for future viewing. View Zoom Recording HERE. Password = 8p+2M4%$

2:30 PM – Juneteenth Celebration with songs, stories, and instruments. Guest speaker is Mr. Norman Redwing, Founder of Afrikan Heritage and Culture of Memphis. View Zoom Recording HERE. Password = 9h@0A!y6

4:00 PM – Democracy Cafe Zoom exploring the question, “How do we achieve absolute equality of rights today?” Cossitt Library manager, Shamichael Hallman, joins the discussion. More details HERE.

Juneteenth Urban Music Festival – Virtual

Locally, Juneteenth has been celebrated consistently since 1991. The Juneteenth Urban Music Festival is offering a virtual event this year instead of their usual festivities. The event will be held on their facebook page, found HERE. For more information on the festival as well as a local history of the festival, visit their website HERE.

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


Six museums across America including the National Civil Rights Museum are celebrating the 155th anniversary of Juneteenth by launching a website and a video commemorating the end of slavery. Visit HERE.

Interactive Tour: Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture

In celebration of Juneteenth, Lonnie Bunch III, the museum’s founding Director, leads a virtual tour through their Slavery and Freedom exhibit, highlighting several of their most popular pieces. This museum also has this blog post, “The Historical Legacy of Juneteenth”, explaining the history of Juneteenth.

The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History Juneteenth Virtual Celebration

This museum is holding a virtual event including Sounds of Freedom: The Art & Music of Charlie Parker along with an invitation for children everywhere to submit a video answering the question, “What does freedom mean to you?”

Books for Checkout

We have several books on the Juneteenth celebration for Children and Adults.

In addition to these titles, we have a special OverDrive/Libby collection on Social Justice, Activism, and Anti-Racism.

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

The Black Caucus of the American Library Association Awards acknowledge outstanding achievement in the presentation of the cultural, historical and sociopolitical aspects of the Black Diaspora.

The Coretta Scott King Book Awards are 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.

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.

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, found HERE.

Congressional Research Service Juneteenth Fact Sheet

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

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.

Meet the Candidates – August 6 Election

Juneteenth celebrations historically bring out the candidates and voter registration drives. You can virtually meet the candidates for the upcoming August 6th elections on our Meet the Candidates page. This page includes links on voter registration, too.

For more on the Library’s role in Democracy, Diversity, and Discourse, visit HERE.


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.