Today is the sesquicentennial of Juneteenth, the nineteenth of June, and the day that marks the end of slavery in the United States. Though the Emancipation Proclamation was signed two and a half years earlier in 1863, at that time without mass media, it actually took the physical arrival of Major General Gordon Granger and his Union soldiers in Galveston, Texas to announce to the last of the held slaves there that the Civil War had ended and that they were free. Hence, birthing a new Independence Day.
Juneteenth not only commemorates the abolition of slavery but also is growing to be a multicultural and global celebration of freedom in general. Specifically, it is an opportunity to build cultural awareness, and in many communities, to educate young African-American generations about the struggles of their past and how their ancestors prevailed. Gratitude and pride, story and song make up many Juneteenth celebrations.
Also in recent news is one of the country’s most legendary abolitionists, Harriet Tubman. Ms. Tubman recently emerged the winner of a public survey (Womenon20s.org) to nominate the first woman to appear on U.S. paper currency. Though the selection, and even the process, was subject to debate (e.g., some see it as hush money, some see it as ‘money’,) the accomplishments of this brave abolitionist in her very dangerous times cannot be minimized. News broke Wednesday, June 18, that the $10 bill, which now depicts Alexander Hamilton, will definitely feature the portrait of a woman, though her identity is yet to be determined. The Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew will determine the person by the end of 2015, with the new currency appearing in 2020 — the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment.
Explore further the intriguing times after the Emancipation through the following Falvey resources about Juneteenth and Harriet Tubman, curated by history liaison, Jutta Seibert. She’s also included some links on what actually goes into making the U.S. dollar bill. Contact Jutta here for her guidance through your research needs and also for her help navigating the wealth of books and online library materials.
1. African American Studies Center Online (AASCO)
AASCO is a great source about African American history in general and Harriet Tubman’s life in particular. It includes the Encyclopedia of African American History: 1619-1895, Black Women in America, and the African American National Biography project. AASCO also includes primary sources and images.
2. Books about Harriet Tubman in the Falvey collection:
3. Black Abolitionist Papers, 1830-1865
Find numerous digitized primary sources written by and about Harriet Tubman.
4. African American Newspapers: The Nineteenth Century
Follow the life of Harriet Tubman as chronicled in the African American Press.
5. Historical New York Times, 1851-2009
Tubman’s obituary from March 14, 1913:
A report about the white resistance to emancipation in Texas from July 1865:
“The Negro Question in Texas.” New York Times (1857-1922), Jul 09, 1865.
6. Secondary sources about the tradition of Juneteenth celebrations in the Falvey collection:
Kachun Mitch. “Celebrating Freedom: Juneteenth and the Emancipation Festival Tradition.” In Remixing the Civil War: Meditations on the Sesquicentennial, edited by Thomas J. Brown, 73-91. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2011. [E641 .R45 2011]
7. A Brief History of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.
8. All you ever wanted to know about the dollar:
Currency Notes. [Washington, D.C.]: Bureau of Engraving and Printing, 2004.
Links and resources prepared by Jutta Seibert, team leader for Academic Integration and subject librarian for History.