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[Children] JUNETEENTH- Freedom Day

Juneteenth: Freedom Day
by Muriel Miller Branch
Publisher: Cobblehill Books; 1st ed edition (April 1, 1998)
ISBN: 0525652221

Editorial Reviews from

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-8-"Part revival and part family reunion and homecoming," Juneteenth is a celebration that originated in Texas and is honored by many African Americans in recognition of emancipation from slavery. The author and her photographer husband traveled to Houston and Galveston to experience this holiday firsthand. Interspersed with details about their journey are historical facts, newspaper quotes, and descriptions of various Juneteenth observations, from solemn to joyous.

The emphasis is on how the observance grew from being relatively localized to being observed throughout the nation. The mostly decorative black-and-white photos, all taken on the trip, show people enjoying their holiday; some historical reproductions are also included. For students researching this topic, Charles Taylor's Juneteenth (Praxis, 1995) presents the facts in a concise manner and shares some modern family experiences.

Carole Weatherford's Juneteenth Jamboree (Lee & Low, 1995) is well suited to reading aloud. Viewed as a travelogue, the Branchs' book is an interesting look at this holiday.

-Sharon R. Pearce, formerly at San Antonio Public Library, TX
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Gr. 4-6. Branch explores a holiday that has only recently begun to work itself into children's books: Juneteenth (short for June nineteenth), the day in 1865 when slaves in Texas received word of their emancipation.

In the first chapter, Branch expresses her own excitement at experiencing the holiday, following with background (including some insight into why the news of freedom reached Texas slaves more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was actually declared), a look at how the holiday is being celebrated today, and some suggestions on how to start one's own celebrations.

Report writers may have some difficulty with the book's occasionally muddled history, but Branch provides a lengthy bibliography for further research, as well as a wealth of holiday enthusiasm that is hard to ignore. Try pairing this with Valerie Wesley's Freedom's Gifts (1997) for the same age group, which introduces Juneteenth in a fictional context. -Stephanie Zvirin

From Kirkus Reviews

A book with an inviting format just adequately explains the African-American celebration and its origins in Texas of the 1900s. In six loosely organized chapters, Branch (The Water Brought Us, 1995) describes Juneteenth--June 19, 1865the day many slaves in Texas were told of their freedom ``two years, six months, and eighteen days late,'' because the Emancipation Proclamation was dated January 1, 1863.

Branch discusses the various reasons and legends that have grown up around this delay, concluding that the slaves were deceived so they would continue as free labor, working on the crops. Spontaneous celebration at the news of freedom led to an annual holiday in Texas, and, as African- Americans moved out of that state, across the country. The text assumes a knowledge of the institution of slavery, who was affected, where they lived, and what life was like for the enslaved; words such as secede are defined, but not white supremacist or lynching. There is a description of what occurred when slaves learned they were free, including a few quotes from primary sources. After a description of the holiday's origins, ``part revival . . . family reunion and homecoming,'' the organization becomes slippery.

Branch goes to some length discussing her search for a contemporary celebration; she attends festivals and recounts in detail the organizations and groups that perform, in coverage that reads like a feature article in a small-town newspaper. Sketchy information on how to organize a celebration appears; the book makes use of excellent black-and- white reproductions and amateurish, badly cropped contemporary photographs. (bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 8-12) -- Copyright 1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

Card catalog description

Discusses the origin and present-day celebration of Juneteenth, a holiday marking the day Texan slaves realized they were free.

Book Description

Juneteenth is the grandfather of all holidays for Black Texans From its spontaneous beginning on June 19, 1865, as slaves in Galveston, Texas, reacted to the delayed news of the Emancipation Proclamation, the holiday has spread nationwide among Black Americans.

It is small gatherings on Daufuskie Island, South Carolina, to immense crowds in Buffalo, New York. This ethnic holiday includes the reading of the Emancipation Proclamation, retelling of legends about how it got its name, parades, parties, and family reunions.

Join the author and photographer as they traveled to experience this celebration of freedom in various spots around the United States.

"Guided by the Ancestors"

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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