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Van G. Garrett’s “Juneteenth”: Introducing Kids to the Significance of Juneteenth in Galveston, Texas

June 16, 2024

June 16, 2024

Discover Van G. Garrett’s “Juneteenth” – The Perfect Children’s Book to Celebrate Juneteenth

Van G. Garrett’s Juneteenth is a beautifully illustrated children’s book that brings the story of Juneteenth to life through the eyes of a young Black child. Set in Galveston, Texas—the historic birthplace of Juneteenth—this book provides a colorful and engaging introduction to the holiday, making it an essential read for parents, educators, and anyone looking to teach kids about this important day in American history. This book helps children understand the significance of Juneteenth.

The cover of "juneteenth" by van g. Garrett features a young black boy smiling joyfully amidst a colorful juneteenth parade in galveston, texas. He is surrounded by vibrant floats, balloons, and banners celebrating freedom. The background includes festive crowds and historic buildings under a bright, sunny sky. The title "juneteenth" is prominently displayed in bold letters at the top, encapsulating the spirit of celebration and heritage and the significance of juneteenth.

Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, the day when enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, learned of their emancipation, marking the end of slavery in the United States. This pivotal moment in history is celebrated with joyous parades, music, and festivities, making Galveston a key location for understanding and celebrating African American freedom and culture.

Galveston holds a unique place in the annals of American history. It was here that Major General Gordon Granger arrived with Union troops to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation, which had been issued more than two years earlier by President Abraham Lincoln.

The delay in communication and enforcement in Texas was largely due to its geographical isolation and the ongoing Civil War, which had disrupted lines of communication. Slaveholders in Texas had resisted the abolition of slavery, and the state had become a refuge for those wanting to maintain the practice despite the Proclamation.

The announcement on June 19, 1865, known as General Order No. 3, came as a profound shock to the approximately 250,000 enslaved African Americans in Texas, many of whom were unaware of their emancipation. This order proclaimed: “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.”

This declaration was not just a legal mandate but a powerful symbol of the end of centuries of enslavement and the beginning of a new era of freedom and self-determination for African Americans.

For those enslaved in Galveston and across Texas, the announcement of emancipation was a moment of elation and profound change. Many celebrated their newfound freedom by leaving their plantations in search of family members and opportunities in other states.

Some chose to stay in Texas, contributing to the growth and development of freedmen’s communities. These early steps taken by freed individuals laid the groundwork for the rich cultural heritage that would flourish in African American communities throughout Texas and the United States.

The significance of Galveston as the birthplace of Juneteenth cannot be overstated. Each year, the city becomes a vibrant hub of celebration, drawing participants from across the country to honor the legacy of those who gained their freedom on that historic day.

The annual Juneteenth celebrations in Galveston are marked by colorful parades, music, dance, and community gatherings that reflect the joy and resilience of the African American spirit. These festivities are more than just a commemoration; they are a vibrant expression of cultural pride and a reaffirmation of the ongoing struggle for equality and justice.

In addition to the parades and music, Galveston’s Juneteenth celebrations include educational events that delve into the history of the holiday and its broader implications for African American heritage. Museums and historical sites in Galveston offer exhibits and tours that provide deeper insights into the experiences of enslaved people and the impact of emancipation.

These educational activities help to ensure that the history of Juneteenth is passed down to future generations, fostering a greater understanding of the importance of this day.

The recognition of Juneteenth as a state holiday in Texas in 1980 and its subsequent designation as a federal holiday in 2021 have further elevated the status of Galveston as a key location for understanding this critical chapter in American history. As more people learn about and celebrate Juneteenth, the city of Galveston continues to play a central role in preserving and promoting the legacy of emancipation and the enduring spirit of freedom.

Galveston’s place in the history of Juneteenth underscores the importance of remembering and celebrating the struggles and triumphs of African Americans. By honoring this day and understanding its roots in Galveston, we not only acknowledge the past but also commit to a future where the principles of freedom and equality are upheld for all.

In the book “Juneteenth,” readers follow a young Black child as they experience the vibrant Juneteenth parade in Galveston for the first time. The story captures the child’s sense of wonder and curiosity as they learn about the significance of the celebration and its place in Black American history. The book’s poetic narrative, enriched with excerpts from “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” the unofficial Black National Anthem, provides a powerful and emotional connection to the holiday.

  • Educational: Offers an engaging way to teach children about the historical and cultural significance of Juneteenth.
  • Cultural Celebration: Highlights the beauty and importance of African American heritage through vibrant illustrations and lyrical storytelling.
  • Inclusive Storytelling: Ensures that young readers of all backgrounds can appreciate and understand the meaning of Juneteenth.
  1. Read “Juneteenth”: Share the book with your children to introduce them to the history and traditions of Juneteenth in a way that’s both fun and educational.
  2. Visit Galveston, Texas: Experience the heart of Juneteenth celebrations by attending parades, festivals, and historical reenactments in Galveston.
  3. Join Local Celebrations: Participate in Juneteenth events in your community to honor the holiday and learn more about African American history.
  • Storytime with “Juneteenth”: Make reading this book a tradition in your home to educate and inspire your children about the importance of freedom and equality.
  • Cultural Activities: Engage in crafts, music, and cooking traditional foods associated with Juneteenth to create a festive and educational environment.
  • Educational Outings: Visit museums and historical sites to deepen your family’s understanding of African American history and heritage.

“Juneteenth” by Van G. Garrett is a must-read for families looking to educate their children about Juneteenth and celebrate African American culture. By sharing the story of a young child’s first Juneteenth parade in Galveston, Texas, the book provides a powerful and engaging way to teach kids about this important holiday. Incorporate this book into your family traditions and celebrate Juneteenth with pride and joy. This is the perfect book to add to Successful Black Parenting’s Book Club.

Mobile book of the week club juneteenth on successful black parenting magazine

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