Juneteenth Resources

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These resources focus on the roots and legacy of Juneteenth and emancipation. Click an age group below to go directly to age-appropriate recommendations.

The books are available with your PINES library card through the Augusta-Richmond County Public Library System for curbside service or through our eBook services, RBdigital (arcplsga.rbdigital.com) and eReadKids (georgialibraries.org/ereadkids).

Want curbside service? Have your library card ready and call 706-821-2600 x3 or log into gapines.org to request books and DVDs for pickup.
Need help? Call 706-821-2600 x2 or email information@arcpls.org

Adults

Children

Teens and Tweens

Adults

Black Reconstruction by W.E.B. DuBois
Availability:
bit.ly/brdubois (from the Internet Archive)

Synopsis: Black Reconstruction is an incredibly detailed, foundational work on the Reconstruction period published in 1935 by preeminent scholar Dr. W.E.B. DuBois. DuBois’ painstaking research counters the skewed yet generally accepted interpretations of Reconstruction from his time.

 

 

Barracoon: The Story of the Last Black Cargo by Zora Neale Hurston
Availability:
• Curbside pickup

Synopsis: This slim yet powerful work of nonfiction consists of interviews with Cudjo (Kossula) Lewis, a formerly enslaved man who was on the last slave ship to the US, about his life in Africa, his kidnapping and enslavement, and his life after Emancipation through the early 20th century. Hurston’s writer’s hand keeps the book mostly in Lewis’ own powerful and often emotional voice, typically only interrupting his words to provide more context.

 

 

Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877 by Eric Foner
Availability:
• Curbside pickup

Synopsis: This is another foundational work on Reconstruction by modern scholar Eric Foner. Syndetics describes it as “a ‘smart book of enormous strengths’ (Boston Globe) [that] has since gone on to become the classic work on the wrenching post-Civil War period — an era whose legacy reverberates still today in the United States.”

 

 

 

Jubilee by Margaret Walker
Availability:
• Curbside pickup

Synopsis (from Syndetics): Jubilee tells the true story of Vyry, the child of a white plantation owner and his black mistress. Vyry bears witness to the South’s antebellum opulence and to its brutality, its wartime ruin, and the promises of Reconstruction. Weaving her own family’s oral history with thirty years of research, Margaret Walker’s novel brings the everyday experiences of slaves to light. Jubilee churns with the hunger, the hymns, the struggles, and the very breath of American history.

 

 

Cane River by Lalita Tademy
Availability:
• Curbside pickup
RBdigital (eBook)

Synopsis (from PINES): This novel follows four generations of African American women, from slavery to the early twentieth century, as they struggle for economic security and the future of their families along the Cane River in rural Louisiana.

 

 

Stony the Road: Reconstruction, White Supremacy, and the Rise of Jim Crow by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Availability:

• Curbside pickup

Synopsis (from PINES): A profound new rendering of the struggle by African Americans for equality after the Civil War and the violent counterrevolution that resubjugated them, as seen through the prism of the war of images and ideas that have left an enduring stain on the American mind. The story of the abolition of slavery in the aftermath of the Civil War is a familiar one, as is the civil rights revolution that transformed the nation after World War II. But the century in between remains a mystery: If emancipation came in Lincoln’s America, why was it necessary to march in Martin Luther King, Jr.’s America? In a history that moves from Reconstruction to the Harlem Renaissance, Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr.,… answers that question.”

 

Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman by Ernest J. Gaines (novel and movie adaptation)

Availability:
• Curbside pickup

Synopsis (from Penguin Random House): Miss Jane Pittman. She is one of the most unforgettable heroines in American fiction, a woman whose life has come to symbolize the struggle for freedom, dignity, and justice. Ernest J. Gaines’s now-classic novel—written as an autobiography—spans one hundred years of Miss Jane’s remarkable life, from her childhood as a slave on a Louisiana plantation to the Civil Rights era of the 1960s.

 

She Came to Slay: the Life and Times of Harriet Tubman by Erica Armstrong Dunbar
Availability:
• Curbside pickup

Synopsis (From PINES): “A fresh take on this American icon blending traditional biography, illustrations, photos, and engaging sidebars,” She Came to Slay is a readable, compact history that covers Tubman’s life beyond her famous life as a liberator and a Union spy, from her ancestry to her years after Emancipation.

 

 

Capitol Men by Philip Dray

Availability:
• Curbside pickup

Synopsis (From Houghton Mifflin Harcourt): Pulitzer Prize finalist Philip Dray shines a light on a little-known group of men: the nation’s first black members of Congress. These men played a critical role in pushing for much-needed reforms in the wake of a traumatic civil war, including public education for all children, equal rights, and protection from Klan violence. But they have been either neglected or maligned by most historians — their “glorious failure” chalked up to corruption and “ill-preparedness.”

 

 

James Boyd, formerly
enslaved, and an
unidentified woman
(Library
of Congress)

Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers’ Project, 1936 to 1938

Availability:
bit.ly/fwpnarratives

Synopsis: The Federal Writers’ Project collected thousands of interviews with the formerly enslaved during the Great Depression. Interviews of Fountain Hughes and Mingo White are particularly arresting. Some parts of these interviews may be offensive, scholars warn of taking the interviews at face value due to the prejudices of some interviewers and the desire to appease the interviewers among other factors. However, the breadth and volume of interviews collected make these narratives worth including.

 

 

 

 

Slavery and the Making of America

Availability:
• Curbside pickup

Synopsis (From PBS): A documentary of the history of American slavery from its beginnings in the British colonies through the years of post-Civil War Reconstruction, this series examines the integral role slavery played in shaping the new country and challenges the long held notion that it was exclusively a Southern enterprise. The remarkable stories of individual slaves offer fresh perspectives on the slave experience.

 

 

“What Is Juneteenth?” by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

Well-dressed African American men and women at a Juneteenth celebration
Texas Juneteenth Day Celebration, 1900
(Austin History Center, Austin Public Library)

Availability:
bit.ly/juneteenthgates

Synopsis: An article that details the story of the last enslaved people to be emancipated in Texas, the creation of the Juneteenth and other emancipation celebrations, and its legacy and current celebration.

 

 

 

Children

All Different Now | Book by Angela Johnson, E.B. Lewis | Official ...

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

Recommended for lower grades (K-3)
Availability:
• Curbside pickup

Synopsis: Experience the first Juneteenth through a child’s eyes.

 

 

 

Dark Sky Rising: Reconstruction and the dawn of Jim Crow by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. with Tonya Bolden
Recommended for middle grades (4-8)
Availability:
• Curbside pickup
eReadKids (eBook and audiobook)

Synopsis: A first book for young readers, Dark Sky Rising explains Reconstruction and the Jim Crow era and highlights some of the remarkable people of this era.

 

 

I Thought My Soul Would Rise And Fly: The Diary of Patsy, A Freed Girl by Joyce Hansen
Recommended for middle grades (4-8)
Availability:
• Curbside pickup

Synopsis: Written as a diary, this tells Patsy’s story as she learns the meaning of freedom after Emancipation and choses a new name

 

 

Juneteenth by Denise Jordan

Recommended for lower grades (K-3)
Availability:
• Curbside pickup

Synopsis: Part of the Holiday Histories series, this book explains the history of Juneteenth and how it is celebrated today

 

 

If You Lived When There Was Slavery in America by Anne Kamma
Recommended for lower grades (K-3)
Availability:
• Curbside pickup

Synopsis: A question and answer book about the realities of life during slavery and the first days of freedom.

 

 

Henry’s Freedom Box by Ellen Levine
Recommended for lower grades (K-3)
Availability:
• Curbside pickup

Synopsis: When he loses his family, Henry devises a plan to mail himself in a shipping crate to a free state

 

 

Hope’s Gift by Kelly Starling Lyons
Recommended for lower grades (K-3)
Availability:
• Curbside pickup

Synopsis: Hope’s father gives her a special shell to remind her that freedom is coming. When her family is reunited, Hope feels truly free.

 

 

Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans by Kadir Nelson
Recommended for middle grades (4-8)
Availability:
• Curbside pickup
RBdigital (audiobook)

Synopsis: Told from the viewpoint of Nelson’s family, this book covers all eras of American history to the present day.

 

 

Big Jabe by Jerdine Nolan
Recommended for lower grades (K-3)
Availability:
• Curbside pickup

Synopsis: Mamma Mary tells the story of Big Jabe who comes to spirit people to freedom

 

 

 

Eliza’s Freedom Road: An Underground Railroad Diary by Jerdine Nolan
Recommended for middle grades (4-8)
Availability:
• Curbside pickup

Synopsis: Tells the story of Eliza and her journey on the Underground Railroad to a free life in Canada

 

 

African American men, women, and children in period dress around a fireplace with Lady Liberty above them and the word Emancipation
Center portion of
“Emancipation”
by Thomas Nast

PBS Learning Media: U.S. History: Civil War and Reconstruction
Availability:
bit.ly/pbsreconstruction
Recommended for all ages (mostly later elementary and older)

Synopsis: Video clips, images, documents and more from PBS shows and documentaries such as Reconstruction: After the Civil War and Finding Your Roots relating to the Civil War and the Reconstruction period. Sortable by grade level.

 

 

 

African American man in period clothes voting, African American men gathered together behind three men having a discussion, and a building on fire,
Two drawings from Harper’s Weekly and
one from the Freedmen’s Bureau

Kiddle: Reconstruction of the United States Facts for Kids
Availability:
bit.ly/kidreconstruction

Synopsis: Recommended for middle grades (4-8), can read and explain to younger children

Short, kid-friendly overview of the Reconstruction era. Based on Wikipedia, but we fact-checked from other sources.

 

 

 

Teens and Tweens

The Logan family series by Mildred Taylor (by time period)

  1. The Land
  2. The Well
  3. Song of the Trees
  4. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry
  5. Let the Circle Be Unbroken
  6. The Road to Memphis
  7. All the Days Past, All the Days to Come

Recommended for middle grades and up (All the Days Past is recommended for grades 9-12.)
Availability:
Curbside pickup
RBDigital (The Land and Roll of Thunder audiobooks)
eReadKids (Roll of Thunder eBook and audiobook)

Synopsis: A series for tweens and teens that covers 100+ years of black history through the Logan family. It begins The Land, the Reconstruction-set coming of age story of Paul-Edward who dreams of his own land after the Civil War. The most famous book of the series is Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, set in the racial terror of Jim Crow-era Mississippi. The final novel, All the Days Past, All the Days to Come, follows Cassie Logan from the 1940s to the 1960s, across the country with the Great Migration and back to the South during the heat of the civil rights movement.

 Dark Sky Rising: Reconstruction and the dawn of Jim Crow by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. with Tonya Bolden

Dark Sky Rising: Reconstruction and the dawn of Jim Crow by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. with Tonya Bolden
Recommended for middle grades (4-8)
Availability:
• Curbside pickup
eReadKids (eBook and audiobook)

Synopsis (from PINES): “This is a story about America during and after Reconstruction, one of history’s most pivotal and misunderstood chapters….Here, you will come face-to-face with the people and events of Reconstruction’s noble democratic experiment, it’s tragic undermining, and the drawing of a new “color line” in the long Jim Crow era that followed. In introducing young readers to them, and to the resiliency of the African American people at times of progress and betrayal, Professor Gates shares a history that remains vitally relevant today.”–Provided by publisher.

Crossing Ebenezer Creek by Tonya Bolden
Recommended for high school (grades 9-12)
Availability:
• Curbside pickup
Synopsis (from PINES): When Mariah and her young brother Zeke are suddenly freed from slavery, they set out on Sherman’s long march through Georgia during the Civil War. Mariah wants to believe that the brutalities of slavery are behind them forever and that freedom lies ahead. When she meets Caleb, an enigmatic young black man also on the march, Mariah soon finds herself dreaming not only of a new life, but of true love as well. But even hope comes at a cost, and as the treacherous march continues toward the churning waters of Ebenezer Creek, Mariah’s dreams are as vulnerable as ever.

 

Sugar by Jewell Parker Rhodes
Recommended for middle grades (4-8)
Availability:
• Curbside pickup

Synopsis (from PINES): In 1870, Reconstruction brings big changes to the Louisiana sugar plantation where spunky ten-year-old Sugar has always lived, including her friendship with Billy, the son of her former master, and the arrival of workmen from China.

 

 

Copper Sun by Sharon Draper
Recommended for high school (grades 9-12)
Availability:
• Curbside pickup

Synopsis (from Scholastic): Two fifteen-year-old girls—one a slave and the other an indentured servant—escape their Carolina plantation and try to make their way to Fort Moses, Florida, a Spanish colony that gives sanctuary to slaves.

 

 

A picture of Freedom: the diary of Clotee, a slave girl by Patricia McKissack
Recommended for middle grades (4-8)
Availability:
• Curbside pickup
eReadKids (eBook)

Synopsis (from PINES): In 1859 twelve-year-old Clotee, a house slave who must conceal the fact that she can read and write, records in her diary her experiences and her struggle to decide whether to escape to freedom.

 

Reconstruction and 1876: Crash Course US History #22
Availability:
bit.ly/crashreconstruction

Synopsis: An entertaining short overview of the Reconstruction era by John Green from the award-winning Crash Course series.

African American men, women, and children in period dress around a fireplace with Lady Liberty above them and the word Emancipation

PBS Learning Media: U.S. History: Civil War and Reconstruction
Availability:
bit.ly/pbsreconstruction

Synopsis: Video clips, images, documents and more from PBS shows and documentaries such as Reconstruction: After the Civil War and Finding Your Roots relating to the Civil War and the Reconstruction period. Sortable by grade level.

Reconstruction360
Availability:
reconstruction360.org

Synopsis: A web and mobile based 360 immersive experience that explains the Reconstruction era through brief documentary videos and reenactments.

Instructions: As you move about the 360-degree image, hotspots will appear to click on for short video clips. You can also click explore to find the videos directly. More instructions are available at reconstruction360.org/instructions.html

Facing History and Ourselves: The Reconstruction Era and the Fragility of Democracy

Availability:
facinghistory.org/reconstruction-era

Synopsis: A “rich archive of lessons, videos, and primary sources to teach about [Reconstruction,] one of the most tumultuous periods in US history and its legacy today” according to the Facing History and Ourselves site. The videos and documents can stand alone while the lessons encourage critical thinking about those materials.