What is the story of Juneteenth? Why do we celebrate this newly designated federal holiday, and how is it connected to freedom, one of the most cherished American ideals? These were the questions answered during the virtual film screening and panel discussion, Juneteenth: Exploring Freedom’s Stories.
On June 15, Penn State Outreach and Online Education and the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center co-hosted a virtual screening of Juneteenth: Exploring Freedom’s Stories. The film depicts the history of Juneteenth as it celebrates many of the freedoms we hold as Americans. The story of Juneteenth begins on June 19, 1865, with the abolition of slavery in Texas. Subsequently, the passage of the Reconstruction Amendments to the United States Constitution further safeguarded American liberties. The 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments eradicated slavery, granted American citizenship to anyone born in the U.S., and ensured voting rights for men irrespective of their skin color.
After the film screening, Dr. Justin Schwartz, executive vice president and provost of Penn State joined American history scholars from around the country to discuss the lasting impact of Juneteenth on every American citizen.
Richard D’Von Daily, Ph.D. candidate, U.S. History and African American Studies, Penn State
Andrea (Ang) Reidell, Director of Outreach and Curriculum, Leonore Annenberg Institute for Civics, Annenberg Public Policy Center, University of Pennsylvania
Dr. Justin Schwartz, Executive Vice President and Provost, Penn State
Dr. Daina Ramey Berry, Michael Douglas Dean of Humanities and Fine Arts, UC Santa Barbara
Dr. Cathleen D. Cahill, George and Ann Richards Civil War Era Center, Walter L. Ferree and Helen P. Ferree Professor in Middle-American History, Penn State
Dr. Eric Foner, DeWitt Clinton Professor Emeritus of History, Columbia University
The panelists recommend the following resources for anyone to use to learn more about Juneteenth.
Video and Audio
- What Is Juneteenth, and How Do You Celebrate and Observe the Day? — Columbia University
- Celebrating Juneteenth — National Museum of African American History & Culture
- Juneteenth Jamboree — Public Broadcasting Service (PBS)
- What is Juneteenth? — Alabama Local News
- Juneteenth’s Role in the American Story — DIY Democracy
Books and Articles
- University of Pennsylvania Penn Libraries – Juneteenth Resource Guide
- Texas State Association: Handbook of Texas – Juneteenth
- Texas State Historical Association and Archives — Texas Observes Juneteenth
- The Emancipation Proclamation — National Archives
- Original Juneteenth General Order — National Archives
- Juneteenth: What Every American Should Know — Rutgers University
- What is Juneteenth? — Public Broadcasting Service (PBS)
- The Living History of Juneteenth, Our Next National Holiday — GQ Magazine
- Why Celebrating Juneteenth Is More Important Now than Ever — Vox.com