Juneteenth Lesson Plans and Resources
Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, commemorates the announcement of the abolition of slavery in the U.S. State of Texas. Celebrated on June 19, the term is a portmanteau of June and nineteenth, and is an official annual holiday in 29 of the United States. The holiday originated in Galveston, Texas; for more than a century, the state of Texas was the primary home of Juneteenth celebrations. However, one small community in Arkansas (Wilmar) boasts that its celebration, called “June Dinner” has been consistently observed and celebrated, except for one year, since approximately 1870. Since 1980, Juneteenth has been an official state holiday in Texas. … Its informal observance has spread to some other states, with a few celebrations even taking place in other countries. – Wikipedia
This technology-based unit on slaveryincorporates PowerPoint, a WebQuest, and Inspiration software
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Check out the other Juneteenth resources we’ve compiled for you below, and you can also find some helpful lesson plans in our Black History Month collection.
- Here is a “What is Juneteenth?” PSA and radio interview of the chairman of the National Juneteenth Holiday Committee
- Juneteenth – A Celebration of Freedom is excellent trailer listed besides 23 other Juneteenth-related videos
- This “Don’t Know Much About Minute” video is about the Juneteenth holiday
- Here is a recording of the Juneteenth Jamboree by Gladys “Fatso” Bentley from the 1930’s
- John Callahan, editor of Ralph Waldo Ellison’s novel Juneteenth, talks about the book and the man at the Library of Congress in this lengthy video
Introduction to Juneteenth:
Start your exploration of Juneteenth with a visit to Juneteenth.com, a national and international registry of Juneteenth organizations and celebrations. Here are three other introductory websites:
Books, Poems, and Study Guides:
- Must-read Juneteenth booksinclude:
Ralph Ellison’s Juneteenth, Carolyn Meyer’s Jubilee Journey, and Ann Rinalidi’s Come Juneteeth along with Juneteenth by Mark Schroder and Juneteenth: A Day to Celebrate Freedom from Slavery by Angela Leeper.
- Juneteenth Textsinclude:
June Preszler’s and Sandra Adell’s Juneteenth: Jubilee for Freedom, Juneteenth Jamboree by Carole BostonWeatherford and Juneteenth: A Celebration of Freedom by Charles Taylor.
- This is a full and extensive study guide for Juneteenth by Ralph Ellison.
- This book site contains a reading guide for Juneteenth Jamboree by Carole Boston Weatherford for grades 2-3. It also contains writing activities, ESL strategies, and interdisciplinary activities for this book as well as several other related African-American history books for grade levels 1-4.
- This When Freedom Came poem was written by Kenneth Burton especially for Juneteenth.
More Lesson Plans:
- These Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt lesson plans and links include an Interdisciplinary Unit (2-8), a geography and economics lesson (K-5), a language arts and social studies (1-2) lesson plan and Teacher Cyber Guide (3). This site also contains a Teacher’s Idea Bank that includes links to other lesson plans on African American history and culture.
- Readwritethink.org also offers an outstanding lesson plan for Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt. (3-5)
- This is a Juneteenth social studies lesson plan titled Lift Every Voice and Sing. (4)
- In this research lesson plan, students discover their community Juneteenth celebrations and create an educational advertising campaign about the local activities and traditions. The ideas of ownership and the impact of slavery are also covered. (4)
- Venn diagrams are used in this math lesson to compare Juneteenth and 4th of July
- In this art lesson plan from Crayola, students make a replica of the Emancipation Proclamation.
- In this PBS Kids civics lesson activity, students research slavery and anti-slavery organizations that exist around the world today. They then develop an action plan to fight slavery and help current slaves gain their freedom. Although this is not a Juneteenth lesson plan, can you think of a more meaningful way to celebrate Juneteenth? (4-8)
- A middle school lesson plan at History Now evaluates how different groups in American viewed the Emancipation Proclamation when it came out. It includes worksheets and character sheets to be filled out by each group.
- This EdSitement high school lesson plan explores the Emancipation Proclamation from an African American perspective and contains an extensive list of related materials.
Additional Juneteenth Resources:
- This is a Juneteenth word search. (3-5)
- At this U.S. government archives site, you can see, hear and learn about the original Emancipation Proclamation.
- This site contains a timeline of events leading up to the emancipation proclamation.
- This Northwestern University site contains links to abolition and emancipation resources as well as Juneteenth links.
- The Ethnic Resources Center lists selected Juneteenth titles, references and web links for children (K-6) and adults.
- In this Rusk County (Texas) Depot Museum activity, students create an old-time poster proclaiming to the people of Texas that all slaves are now free. (3-4)