Celebrating Juneteenth

Observation and Reading List

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

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. 


ESC encourages organizations with operations in the United States to join us in celebrating this important holiday. 

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Juneteenth Recommended Reading List

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