Commemorating Juneteenth

Thursday, June 17, 2021

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 Monday, June 19, 2023 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:

Kansas City's Montgall Avenue: Black Leaders and the Street They Called Home

Thursday, June 22, 2023
Reception:  5:30 p.m. | Program: 6 p.m.
Not far from 18th and Vine streets, some of the most notable chapters in Kansas City’s Black history sprang from a single city block on Montgall Avenue. Author Margie Carr recalls this enclave and the influencers who lived there in the first half of the 20th century in a discussion of her new book Kansas City's Montgall Avenue: Black Leaders and the Street They Called Home.


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:

The 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
Kansas City Black History Website

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!)