Updated: Jun 6, 2022
On June 19, 1865, two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation and two months after the end of the Civil War, hundreds of thousands of enslaved men and women in Texas learned that they had been freed.
A significant milestone in American culture, Juneteenth originally called Juneteenth Independence Day or Freedom Day, commemorates the freedom of slaves. The first celebration of Juneteenth was held in 1866 and became an official holiday in Texas in 1979 and in 2021, became a federal holiday.
The celebration of Juneteenth matters as our country cannot afford to repeat its past "misdeeds" which led to discrimination, immorality, and inhumanity.
In June, educators, parents, and caregivers can use Juneteenth lessons to teach and or expand children’s understanding about oppression, fairness, and kindness. In early Juneteenth celebrations, Black Americans came together to share food, dance, song, and often prayers in acknowledgment of freedom.
How can you teach preschoolers about Juneteenth? Juneteenth can teach small children about the importance of treating people with kindness. It was the kindness and humanity of Union soldiers sharing with slaves that the war was over that began their movement toward freedom.
Juneteenth lessons for kids are available at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture to inform and engage individuals about this celebration, including:
Explore: Records of the Freedman’s Bureau
Enjoy: Special meal with loved ones
Create: A Juneteenth flag