President Biden signed legislation on Thursday (June 17, 2021) to make Juneteenth a federal holiday, enshrining June 19 as the national day to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States. The law went into effect immediately, making Friday (June 18, 2021) the first federal Juneteenth holiday.
Hunter Library has created a research guide with Juneteenth resources available in the library and noting some local events that will take place in Jackson and surrounding counties. The guide can be viewed at https://researchguides.wcu.edu/AfricanAmericanHistory/Juneteenth Notable links include the National Museum of African American History and Culture’s digital Juneteenth exhibit and links to information about Ms. Opal Lee, who is considered the “Grandmother of Juneteenth” and was present yesterday as the bill was signed into effect.
As the Juneteenth announcement made its way through the south formerly enslaved people immediately sought to reunify their families, establish schools for their children, and even run for local political offices. African Americans were transforming their lives and the country in a myriad of ways. Hunter Library’s research guide on African American History is a great resource to find background information, books, scholarly journal articles, and primary sources for African American history, including North Carolina Slave Narratives. Other resources include access to a wide range of African American periodicals, from the 19th century to the present.