University Library

Juneteenth Reading List

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

Check-out-able Print Books

Below are a selection of books about Juneteenth and emancipation in America--non-fiction, fiction, and primary sources. To search W&L's full holdings, use the W&L library catalog.

W&L University Library is open to current W&L students and staff/faculty members only. All other library users may borrow books through our outdoor pick-up service. Send desired titles and call numbers to library@wlu.edu. Requested books will be available for pickup at Leyburn Library within two business days.

If any items are currently checked out, email library@wlu.edu to receive notification of availability.

Materials from Special Collections & Archives

Special Collections preserves local, historical primary sources as well as locally produced secondary sources, like papers authored by members of the Rockbridge Historical Society. 

To research local Black history and geneology, email Tom Camden (camdent@wlu.edu) or Seth Goodhart (goodharts@wlu.edu) in Special Collections & Archives.

A Selection of Primary Sources:

  • Brady Contracts.
    • This is a collection of contracts between a local businessman, D.C.E. Brady and several freedmen in 1867.  Each contract includes the name, position, and wage of the employee along with other details such as food rations, housing information, and allowance to keep hogs.  The original copies of the contracts are part of the Brady Family Papers in the Rockbridge Historical Society Archival Collections housed in Special Collections.
  • Lexington Gazette.
    • Special Collections has a selection of physical copies of the Lexington Gazette from this era and the University Library has the entire run on microfilm.  One specific example of content about emancipated people is the May 27, 1865 issue. To improve access to information within the newspaper, Special Collections is creating an index of content related to Black individuals in the Lexington Gazette which researchers may request to use in-house. Contact Special Collections for more information about the index and use of the physical newspapers. 
  • Poague Agricultural Account Book.
    • Special Collections has an account book from the Poague family that includes financial information about the shift from using enslaved labor to paid labor in the aftermath of the Civil War.  People may come to Special Collections to request the use of this item for research.