THE JUNETEENTH STORY

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Agostini narrates the history of the holiday that marks the date when enslaved people in Texas finally learned they were free: June 19, 1865, 900 days after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation and 339 years after slavery began. Juneteenth has been celebrated in some cities and regions since 1866 (then called Jubilee Day or Emancipation Day), but in 2021, President Joe Biden made Juneteenth a federal holiday. Throughout this straightforward account, a contemporary Black mother, father, and young daughter observe images of these historical events unfolding: Lincoln signing the Emancipation Proclamation, the jubilation of enslaved people receiving news of their freedom, and the disappointment of a Black family, subject to Jim Crow laws, who cannot visit a park where a White family is picnicking. This split visual narrative likely represents the parents teaching their daughter this history, but readers might find it confusing when the family eats in a park alongside families wearing historical clothing. Agostini brings readers up to the summer of 2020, connecting Juneteenth with the civil rights movement of the 1960s and the Black Lives Matter movement. Cloud uses an array of skin tones to portray the diversity among African Americans, but sometimes the cartoonish style conflicts with the seriousness of the book’s content. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

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