In honor of Juneteenth, the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States, we invite you to join us in reflecting on what work we can do, as individuals and organizations, to be actively anti-racist while taking time to recognize and appreciate the culture and contributions of Black people everywhere.
Here are some recommended resources for learning more about the day and celebrating:
In this Be Antiracist podcast episode, Host Ibram X. Kendi expounds the history and legacy of Juneteenth, and what the day means to him. He passes the mic to Annette Gordon-Reed, Heather McGhee, Adam Serwer, Tiya Miles, and Maurice Carlos Ruffin, who share how this day in American history shows up in their lives. Plus: the Be Antiracist team hits the streets of New York to check in with the community on how they’re celebrating the holiday.
Juneteenth is a time to gather with family and community, honor the present, and reflect on shared history and tradition. Discover the tastes, sounds, and experiences of this African American cultural tradition with the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture.
Serving as an educational and motivational resource for all, Juneteenth.com’s mission is to inspire and support individuals, organizations, and corporations in the hosting of Juneteenth celebrations. The site, through these celebrations, aims to promote a greater understanding and appreciation of diversity.
“Today, Juneteenth commemorates African American freedom and emphasizes education and achievement. It is a day, a week, and in some areas, a month marked with celebrations, guest speakers, picnics, and family gatherings. It is a time for reflection and rejoicing. It is a time for assessment, self-improvement, and planning for the future. Its growing popularity signifies a level of maturity and dignity in America long overdue. In cities across the country, people of all races, nationalities, and religions are joining hands to truthfully acknowledge a period in our history that shaped and continues to influence our society today. Sensitized to the conditions and experiences of others, only then can we make significant and lasting improvements in our society.”
Click here to explore Juneteenth.com.
Lindauer’s Reading List:
Four Hundred Souls
by Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain
A chorus of extraordinary voices tells the epic story of the four-hundred-year journey of African Americans from 1619 to the present—edited by Ibram X. Kendi, author of How to Be an Antiracist, and Keisha N. Blain, author of Set the World on Fire. This is a history that illuminates our past and gives us new ways of thinking about our future, written by the most vital and essential voices of our present.
Between the World and Me
by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Hailed by Toni Morrison as “required reading,” a bold and personal literary exploration of America’s racial history by “the most important essayist in a generation and a writer who changed the national political conversation about race.” (Rolling Stone)
Coates shares with his son — and readers — the story of his awakening to the truth about his place in the world through a series of revelatory experiences, from Howard University to Civil War battlefields, from the South Side of Chicago to Paris, from his childhood home to the living rooms of mothers whose children’s lives were taken as American plunder. Beautifully woven from personal narrative, reimagined history, and fresh, emotionally charged reportage, Between the World and Me clearly illuminates the past, bracingly confronts our present, and offers a transcendent vision for a way forward.
The Warmth of Other Suns
by Isabel Wilkerson
From 1915 to 1970, the exodus of almost six million people who fled the South for northern and western cities in search of a better life changed the face of America. Both a riveting microcosm and a major assessment, The Warmth of Other Suns is a bold, remarkable, and riveting work. Through the breadth of its narrative, the beauty of the writing, the depth of its research, and the fullness of the people and lives portrayed herein, this book is destined to become a classic.
by Yaa Gyasi
Ghana, eighteenth century: two half-sisters are born into different villages, each unaware of the other. One will marry an Englishman and lead a life of comfort in the palatial rooms of the Cape Coast Castle. The other will be captured in a raid on her village, imprisoned in the very same castle, and sold into slavery. Homegoing follows the parallel paths of these sisters and their descendants through eight generations: from the Gold Coast to the plantations of Mississippi, from the American Civil War to Jazz Age Harlem. Yaa Gyasi’s extraordinary novel illuminates slavery’s troubled legacy both for those who were taken and those who stayed — and shows how the memory of captivity has been inscribed on the soul of our nation.
The Purpose of Power
by Alicia Garza
An essential guide to building transformative movements to address the challenges of our time, from one of the country’s leading organizers and a co-creator of Black Lives Matter; this is the story of one woman’s lessons through years of bringing people together to create change. Most of all, it is a new paradigm for change for a new generation of changemakers, from the mind and heart behind one of the most important movements of our time.
The Fire Next Time
by James Baldwin
A national bestseller when it first appeared in 1963, The Fire Next Time galvanized the nation and gave a passionate voice to the emerging civil rights movement. At once a powerful evocation of James Baldwin’s early life in Harlem and a disturbing examination of the consequences of racial injustice, the book is an intensely personal and provocative document. It consists of two “letters,” written on the occasion of the centennial of the Emancipation Proclamation, that exhorts Americans, both Black and white, to attack the terrible legacy of racism. Described by The New York Times Book Review as “sermon, ultimatum, confession, deposition, testament, and chronicle… all presented in searing, brilliant prose,” The Fire Next Time stands as a classic of our literature.
Outside of Juneteenth, we encourage you to continue your education on Black history and celebrate Black excellence 365 days a year. In the words of Chadwick Boseman, “understanding history is one of many ways to break the cycle. Lift up/amplify Black voices. Support Black-owned businesses. Reach back. Mentor.”