Juneteenth Reading List

Juneteenth, which is celebrated every June 19th, is an important American holiday that deserves lots more attention! It commemorates the anniversary of General Order Number 3, which made it very clear that slavery would no longer be tolerated in Texas. This happened in 1865, 2 years after the Emancipation Proclamation had outlawed slavery, but at the time Texas was really remote and it was hard to enforce the ban on slavery. Juneteenth marks a big step toward freedom for enslaved people in the United States.

As we’re approaching Juneteenth this Saturday, we invite you to choose something from this list to read. While you read, please consider what you can do to combat racism in your heart, home, and community.

This week on The House that Lars Built we’re getting ready for Juneteenth by celebrating some of our favorite Black creators, artists, and thinkers. We put our heads together as members of Team Lars and came up with this (definitely NOT comprehensive) Juneteenth reading list of books, movies, and shows.

We’ve included materials for kids and for adults, and we also recognize that some of the material here might not be for all audiences. Because our world’s history of oppression and violence against Black people is challenging, it would be disingenuous not to include challenging materials in our Juneteenth reading list. While we urge you to use your judgement in finding something from this list that is a good fit for you, we also want to underscore how important it is to take in media that stretches us, even if we sometimes feel uncomfortable.

We hope you take the time to read or watch something from our Juneteenth reading list and that in addition to learning you also bask in some beautiful Black joy. Black lives matter, Black joy matters, Black futures matter, and Black art matters!

Reading List

Books for Kids

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry coverA quilted illustration from Tar BeachHarriet gets Carried Away cover

Bunheads coverThank You, Omu coverSaturday cover

Magnificent Homespun Brown coverThe Old Truck Cover

Tallulah The Tooth Fairy CEO coverParker Looks Up coverYou Matter cover

Books for Adults

Me and White Supremacy coverWhen They Call You a Terrorist coverThe Color of Law cover

Becoming coverBetween the World and Me coverThe Color of Water cover

Bad Feminist coverI Know Why the Caged Bird Sings cover

Beloved coverCry, the Beloved Country coverThe Vanishing Half cover

Sing, Unburied, Sing coverLife on Mars coverThe Hate U Give coverThe Color Purple Cover

Watch List

If you can’t fit in time to read a book this week, consider watching one of these shows by Black creators.

Movies and Shows for Kids and Teens

  • Reading Rainbow by Lavar Burton
  • The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air by Andy and Susan Borowitz
  • Sister Sister starring Tia and Tamera Mowry

Movies and Shows for Adults

  • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (based on the book listed above!)
  • Atlanta by Donald Glover
  • High on the Hog hosted by Stephen Satterfield
  • Pose by Steven Canals, Brad Falchuk, and Ryan Murphy
  • The Last Black Man in San Francisco
  • BlacKkKlansman directed by Spike Lee
  • The Underground Railroad directed by Barry Jenkins
  • Moonlight directed by Barry Jenkins
  • Lovecraft Country by Misha Green
  • Mr. Church by Bruce Beresford

A tall Black man and a Black woman walk through a street market in Benin.
From High on the Hog (Netflix)

As we’ve put this list together we keep realizing that we know we’re going to miss things and leave glaring holes in this list. Still, we wanted to share some of our favorites. I would love to hear what your favorite books and movies by Black creators are, so let me know in the comments.

If you like this article, you may also like:

Have you heard of bookshop.org? It’s a great place to buy books and support small, independent booksellers! As an affiliate partner of bookshop.org, The House that Lars Built will receive a small commission at no cost to you if you buy any books from this list. 

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