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Celebrating Juneteenth

Observation and Reading List

By the Executive Service Corps (ESC) | Published June 2020, Updated June 2021

Juneteenth, June 19th, is the anniversary of June 19,1865, the day that the Texan slaves found out they were freed by the Emancipation Proclamation two and a half years after it happened. June 19th was nicknamed Juneteenth and celebrated throughout Texas and spread to other states.


While it is not yet a federal holiday, many businesses and nonprofit organizations including the Executive Service Corps (ESC) observe the holiday by closing the office for a paid staff holiday. If you’re closing in observation of this holiday, make sure to include an acknowledgement of the holiday in your out-of-office email automatic reply. 


“I think the significance and purpose of recognizing Juneteenth is something that all citizens should acknowledge because, if there is not a retelling or remembrance of the true history in this nation, we're doomed to repeat it,” Derrick Johnson, President, NAACP.


There is a rich tradition of celebrating Juneteenth. Typically foods of red, white, and blue are included in a menu, such as strawberry soda. People often wear red to symbolize resilience.  Parties range from parades to barbecue picnics. Americans honor African American history with readings, art, music including blues, soul food, story telling, theatre, and voter registration drives. Public readings often include reading of the Emancipation Proclamation and readings from Presidential Medal of Freedom winner, the late Maya Angelou. 


The Executive Service Corps continues to highly encourage organizations with operations in the United States to join us in celebrating this important holiday. We invite you to link to this article in your out of the office email auto-reply.

Please help us continue our work.

Juneteenth Recommended Reading List

Cover Image
Link to Book
Author's Social Media
Eve L. Ewing
A History of Southland College
Thomas C. Kennedy
A People’s History of the United States
Howard Zinn
Ain’t I A Woman: Black Women and Feminism
Bell Hooks
All Labor Has Dignity
Martin Luther King, Jr., Author, Michael K. Honey, Editor
Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment
Patricia Hill Collins
Bound for the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman: Portrait of an American Hero
Dr. Kate Clifford Larson
Brown Girl Dreaming (Ages 10+)
Jacqueline Woodson
Charleston Syllabus: Readings on Race, Racism, and Racial Violence
Chad Williams, Editor, Kidada E. Williams, Editor, Keisha N. Blain, Editor
Colonize This!: Young Women of Color on Today's Feminism
Daisy Hernández, Editor, Bushra Rehman, Editor
Dying of Whiteness: How The Politics of Racial Resentment is Killing America’s Heartland
Jonathan Metzel
Gordon Parks: How the Photographer Captured Black and White America (Children’s Book)
Carole Boston Weatherford
How to be an Antiracist
Ibram X. Kendi
I Must Resist: Bayard Rustin's Life in Letters
Bayard Rustin
Invisible Man
Ralph Ellison
Rachel Grack
Juneteenth for Mazie (Children's Book)
Floyd Cooper
Juneteenth: A Children's Story
Opal Lee
Juneteenth: A Novel (updated content)
Ralph Ellison
Lighting the Fires of Freedom: African American Women in the Civil Rights Movement
Janet Dewart Bell
March (Graphic Novel)
John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell
No Ashes in the Fire: Coming of Age Black & Free in America
Darnell L. Moore
No Tea, No Shade. New Writings in Black Queer Studies
E. Patrick Johnson, Editor
Race and Place: How Urban Geography Shapes the Journey to Reconciliation
David P. Leong
Say Her Name
Zetta Elliott
Story of Juneteenth: An Interactive History Adventure (Children/Young Adult Book)
Steven Otfinoski
Surviving the Angel of Death: The True Story of a Mengele Twin in Auschwitz
Eva Mozes Kor
The 1619 Project
The New York Times
The Autobiography of Malcolm X
Malcolm X
The Burning House: Jim Crow and the Making of Modern America
Anders Walker
The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage: The Fight for Interracial Marriage (Children's Book)
Selina Alko
The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America
Richard Rothstein
The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America
Khalil Gilbran Muhammad
The Emperor Has No Clothes: Teaching about Race and Racism to People Who Don't Want to Know
Tema Jon Okun
The Memo: What Women of Color Need to Know to Secure a Seat at the Table
Minda Harts
The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks
Jeanne Theoharis
The Souls of Black Folk
W.E.B. Du Bois
The Story Behind Juneteenth
Jack Reader
Things That Make White People Uncomfortable
Michael Bennett
This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color
Cherríe Moraga, Editor, Gloria Anzaldúa, Editor
Towards the Other America- Anti-Racist Resources for White People Taking Action for Black Lives Matter
Chris Crass
Uprooting Racism: How White People Can Work for Racial Justice
Paul Kivel
When Affirmative Action Was White: An Untold History of Racial Inequality in 20th Century America
Ira Katznelson
White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Race
Robin DiAngelo
Zami: A New Spelling of My Name, A Biomythography
Audre Lorde
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