Juneteenth: The Journey of Collective Liberation

June 18th, 2024

Flag with white star, blue background with red semicircle and text reading Jun 19, 1865.

Our Juneteenth blog post celebrates this important event by spotlighting literature that explores its history, significance, and impact, as well as highlighting the role of Afrofuturism and its impact on collective liberation. This day serves as a poignant reminder of the ongoing struggle for equality and justice. On our list you’ll find powerful narratives, reflections on identity and heritage, and calls to action for social change.  


Join us in honoring Juneteenth by exploring these essential reads. 


Juneteenth Rodeo by Sarah Bird

Juneteenth: The Story Behind the Celebration by Edward T Cotham  

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

The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks About Race by Jesmyn Ward 

Conversations with Percival Everett, Percival Everett and Joseph Weixlmann

Juneteenth Texas: Essays in African-American Folklore by Francis Edward Abernethy and Carolyn Fiedle, 

Print Books 

Sweet Taste of Liberty: A True Story of Slavery and Restitution in America by W Caleb McDaniel 

Black Ghost of Empire: The Long Death of Slavery and the Failure of Emancipation by Kris Manjapra 

The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism by Edward E Baptist 

On Juneteenth by Anette Gordon-Reed (included in Juneteenth display) 

Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019 by Ibram X  

A Little Devil in America: Notes in Praise of Black Performance by Hanif Abdurraqib  

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi 

I’m Still Here by Austin Channing Brown 

Barracoon: The Story of the Last "Black Cargo" by Zora Neale Hurston  

Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination by Toni Morrison 

Grandmother of Juneteenth 

Image of Opal Lee speaking

Juneteenth’s designation as a federal holiday was possible in part by the tireless efforts of Ms. Opal Lee, who has come to be known as the “grandmother of Juneteenth”. 

To read more about Ms. Opal Lee, and the history of Juneteenth, visit the links below:  

Woman's Decades-Long Fight To Make Juneteenth a U.S. Holiday, NPR

Explore the Constellation: Emancipation Proclamation, National Museum of African American History & Culture (NMAAHC)

The Historical Legacy of Juneteenth, (NMAAHC)

Senses of Freedom: Exploring the Tastes, Sounds, and Experiences of an African American Celebration, (NMAAHC)


Sun Ra Exhibition at the National Museum of African American Culture & ArtsAfrofuturism issues an invitation to the entire African diaspora to imagine a future for Black Liberation often through the arts, politics, science and technology. It can be considered a tool for mending one's perception of self and society. In conjunction with our Juneteenth display, we also have some books from our Afrofuturism collection available for circulation. 

On Display: 

Afrofuturism 2.0: The Rise of Astro-Blackness by Reynaldo Anderson 

A Pure Solar World: Sun Ra and the Birth of Afrofuturism by Paul Youngquist 

Literary Afrofuturism in the Twenty-First Century by Isiah Lavender III 

Black Utopia: The History of an Idea from Black Nationalism to Afrofuturism by Alex Zamalin

Afrofuturism: A History of Black Futures by Kevin M. Strait 

Afrofuturism Rising: The Literary Prehistory of a Movement by Isiah Lavender III

The Black Speculative Arts Movement: Black Futurity, Art + Design by Reynaldo Anderson 


Remember, all the books in the exhibit are available for circulation, so if you see something you would like to read, just ask a library staff member for assistance and we will happily check it out to you! 


Any questions? Comments? Did we miss your favorite book? Reach out to us at library@bryant.edu 

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