Juneteenth for All

Sunflower rising out of text. The flower has yellow center and yellow, green, and red petals. Text: Celebrating Juneteenth at the San José Public Library.

History of Juneteenth 

June 19, 2024 will mark the fourth time the United States has recognized Juneteenth as a federal holiday. Signed into law in 2021, it became the first new federal holiday since Martin Luther King Day was established in the 1980s.

The holiday commemorates June 19, 1865, the day a Union Army General, Gordon Granger, announced in Galveston, Texas that all enslaved people in the state were free. This was more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln had issued the Emancipation Proclamation, but enforcement had finally reached one of the more remote areas of the nation.

African American communities in the United States celebrated Juneteenth for over a century and a half before it finally became an official national holiday.

Nirvana Soul Collaboration at King Library

During the week of Juneteenth (June 17,18, 20, and 21), you’ll find a “Book of the Day” and a “Quote of the Day” sticker on coffee cups at Nirvana Soul (King Library location) thanks to a special partnership between SJPL and Nirvana Soul Coffee.

Please note, all SJPL libraries will be closed on Wednesday, June 19 for Juneteenth.

Juneteenth Events at the Library 

San Jose Public Library is offering a variety of Juneteenth events and some of its staff will be attending the African American Community Service’s Agency 43rd annual Juneteenth celebration in downtown San Jose on Saturday, June 15.

Books to Read on Juneteenth

As a library staff member who will not be working on June 19th in observance of Juneteenth, I feel it’s important for me to take this time to reflect and consider how I can help move the country forward by doing my due diligence in providing accurate information and offering valuable resources that can help educate and improve the lives of many.

Of course, this work should not only take place on June 19, but on every other day, as well! There are many library and community resources available that can support this goal. I’ve listed just a few recommended titles below

Black AF History

White Fragility

Me and White Supremacy

This Book Is Anti-racist

The 1619 Project