Commemorating Juneteenth



Juneteenth marks the emancipation of enslaved African-Americans following the end of the Civil War. On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, delivering the news that the war, and slavery itself in the United States, had come to an end — two months after the surrender of Confederate forces, and nearly 2 1/2 years after the Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves in the South.  This milestone in America's history came to be known as Juneteenth — combining "June" and "Nineteenth" — and is observed annually, providing a chance for the nation to celebrate and explore the meaning of freedom, then and now.

In commemoration of the holiday, the Library offers book recommendations, films, and other resources that highlight the history of Black experiences in America.

*All Library locations will be closed on Sunday, June 19 and Monday, June 20, 2022 in observance of Juneteenth.


Juneteenth: History of Emancipation
This collection of books explores the impact of slavery and the legacy and cultural significance of Juneteenth.

View full list in catalog >


Programs & Activities:

Bookmobile at Juneteenth KC Heritage Festival
Saturday, June 18, 2022  |  Noon - 5 p.m.
Join the Library and other community organizations at the Juneteenth KC Heritage Festival. Our bookmobile will be there to give away free books, sign up attendees for library cards, register individuals and families for Summer Reading, and provide free internet access during the event.


On Juneteenth
In June 2021, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Annette Gordon-Reed joined the Library for a virtual discussion of her book On Juneteenth, in which she weaves American history, dramatic family chronicle, and searing episodes of memoir into a series of essays on our “long road” to the effective end of slavery on June 19, 1865.

Find the book in our catalog



Watch a selection of cinema celebrating Juneteenth - documentaries, dramas, comedies, and more - streamed to your computer or mobile device using the Library's free digital services such as Kanopy.

Juneteenth films on Kanopy
About Kanopy

Kanopy film screenshot
Additional Learning:

Launched in February 2022, the new Kansas City Black History website features online biographies, essays, educational resources, and additional content that highlights the legacies and accomplishments of notable African Americans who blazed trails, broke barriers, and shaped our city’s history.

Explore the site at

Black Thought and Culture is a  digital collection of approximately 100,000 pages of non-fiction writings by major American Black leaders—teachers, artists, politicians, religious leaders, athletes, war veterans, entertainers, and other figures—covering 250 years of history. In addition to the most familiar works, the resource presents a great deal of previously inaccessible material, including letters, speeches, prefatory essays, political leaflets, interviews, periodicals, and trial transcripts. The ideas of over 1,000 authors present an evolving and complex view of what it is to be Black in America. Library card required to access from home. (Need one? Get a card immediately!)