Juneteenth Reading List

Reading list originally created in support of Lexington's 2021 Juneteenth celebration

Rockbridge Historical Society's Mission and Resources

The Rockbridge Historical Society’s Mission is grounded in educational outreach: K-12 classrooms, lifelong learning, virtual programming and standing resources. Here, we complement our core focus on local history, with historical and thematic ties that broaden African-American histories: nationally, chronologically, and thematically. Many of those Rockbridge histories can be explored through RHS programs, articles, image galleries, and videos gathered in our virtual portal: RHS Local Black Histories.

Recommendations from Rockbridge Historical Society: "Juneteenth & Freedom: Reading Across Time, & Space"

View the complete list: Juneteenth & Freedom: Reading Across Time, & Space

Juneteenth Narratives traditionally center on transitions from enslavement to emancipation. While those experiences are well represented here, in non-fiction and fiction, these reading recommendations from RHS highlight the integrity and interconnection of a wider sweep of African American cultural experience. These books’ artistic variety and their reach through time jointly help to illuminate visions of ‘Freedom,’ and its constraints and contradictions. They bring both color and currency to diverse historical journeys, kaleidoscoping others’ pasts, with our present perspectives.

This reading list gathers over 50 titles, subdivided by genre, era, and themes. Two sections more specifically highlight fiction, non-fiction and illustrated books for children & Young Adult readers.

Reading List Partners

Our suggestions complement a collaborative Juneteenth Reading List, tailoring their own range of topical, age-leveled texts: from university libraries, to our public libraries & children’s reading lists.

For other local and national overviews of Juneteenth, as a grounding and growing civic holiday:

Further Information

For More on Rockbridge Histories: RockbridgeHistory.org