Library Corner

The Juneteenth Reading List

Juneteenth commemorates the day the last enslaved people were emancipated in the United States on June 19, 1865. Please follow this link to access a list of both fiction and nonfiction from our library to celebrate Juneteenth. 

Juneteenth, also known as Juneteenth Independence Day or Freedom Day, is an American holiday that commemorates the June 19, 1865, announcement of the abolition of slavery in the U.S. state of Texas, and more generally the emancipation of enslaved African-Americans throughout the former Confederacy of the southern United States.

Emancipation Proclamation. Lithograph by L. Lipman, Milwaukee, Wisc., Feb. 26, 1864.
Prints and Photographs Division.

On June 19, 1865, Major Gen. Gordon Granger led Union soldiers into Galveston, Texas, with news that the Civil War had ended and slavery was abolished – two years after the Emancipation Proclamation.

Pres. Abraham Lincoln’s edict had little impact on the people of Texas, since there were few Union troops around at the time to enforce it. But, with the surrender of Gen. Robert E. Lee in April 1865 and the arrival of Gen. Gordon Granger’s regiment in Galveston, troops were finally strong enough to enforce the executive order. Newly freed men rejoiced, originating the annual “Juneteenth” celebration, which commemorates the freeing of the slaves in Texas.

Although Juneteenth has been informally celebrated each year since 1865, it wasn’t until June 3, 1979, that Texas became the first state to proclaim Emancipation Day (Juneteenth) an official state holiday. But it is much more than a holiday. Juneteenth has become a day for African Americans to celebrate their freedom, culture, and achievements. It is a day for all Americans to celebrate African American history and rejoice in their freedom. 

Taken from Celebrating Juneteenth Library of Congress Blog (June 19, 2015 by Erin Allen) and Library of Congress website 

Blackout Poetry: A How To Guide

Watch Ms. Codd give a demonstration of Blackout Poetry.

Writing poetry has always been a great tool for processing your thoughts and emotions, and it allows you to react to events in daily life while creating something beautiful. 

Perhaps you’ve written poems before, but if you haven’t, why not give it a try with a very straightforward, and very fun method?

With blackout poetry, you can think of the process as “discovering” a poem embedded in a text. Here’s how it works:

  1. Find an old newspaper or magazine (something no one will mind you marking up)
  2. Grab a sharpie or marker of a dark color.
  3. Read the article once or twice. Look for a word(s) that jumps out at you—something striking or meaningful that calls to mind an image in your mind, or otherwise inspires you.
  4. Now, look for more words that can connect to your starter word. Your selections should move down the text, so go slowly in order to avoid missing a word where you might need it.
  5. Circle words you like, this way you won’t accidentally sharpie over them.
  6. Now, it’s very important that you place a magazine or other surface under your article. You don’t want the sharpie ink to bleed through the page and stain whatever surface you are working on.
  7. Go ahead and “blackout” all the words which are NOT part of your poem. You should be left with only the words you’ve chosen visible now.
  8. At this point, you might like to decorate any free space on the margins or between paragraphs with colored pencils or crayons. Make it your own!
  9. Your poem is finished and ready to be shared! Well done!

Most importantly, remember to have fun!

               –Your Librarians

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