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South Pasadena News and Updates

Juneteenth, also known as Emancipation Day or Juneteenth Independence Day, is observed each year on June 19th. It commemorates the ending of slavery in the United States on June 19, 1865, when Union General Gordon Granger led troops into Galveston, Texas to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation issued by President Lincoln two and a half years prior. Many theories have circulated to explain the more than two year delay in the emancipation of Texan slaves after Lincoln’s Executive Order. According to, one story holds that the first messenger to deliver the news of freedom was murdered, while another story states that the news was deliberately withheld by slave owners. 

In celebration of Juneteenth, the South Pasadena Public Library is highlighting some resources from the Library of Congress as well as our own collections. For those interested in expanding their knowledge of American slavery, the Library of Congress has compiled an outstanding online research guide. We also recommend their rare audio interviews with former slaves, titled Voices Remembering Slavery: Freed People Tell Their Stories. For those interested in print books, SPPL has many titles relevant to Juneteenth and the history of slavery in America (links to some selections below). For those who prefer e-books, browse the Overdrive collections curated by the Library to explore the Black Lives Matter Movement for adults and teens.

Picture Books

All Different Now: Juneteenth, the First Day of Freedom by Angela Johnson

Juneteenth for Mazie by Floyd Cooper

Kids’ Fiction

Come Juneteenth by Ann Rinaldi 

Kids’ Nonfiction

Free at Last!: Stories and Songs of Emancipation by Doreen Rappaport and Shane W. Evans

Juneteenth by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson and Drew Nelson

Adult Nonfiction

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave by Frederick Douglass

The Crooked Path to Abolition: Abraham Lincoln and the Anti-Slavery Constitution by James Oakes

The Strange Career of William Ellis: the Texas Slave Who Became a Mexican Millionaire by Karl Jacoby

They Were Her Property: White Women as Slave Owners in the American South by Stephanie E. Jones-Rogers

Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup


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