Juneteenth is the oldest celebration of the end of slavery in our nation. Traditionally celebrated on the third Sunday of June, this momentous occasion has been widely celebrated by African Americans since 1866 but it is only recently gaining broader recognition. For example, last Friday, Mayor Steven Reed issued a proclamation encouraging Alabamians to use Juneteenth as a day for remembrance and reconciliation. Through education and reflection, we are all learning to do better, to be better. For some of us, this takes the form of engaging in educational experiences in regards to respecting the history of African Americans and encouraging and providing the tools for those who want to move forward with more respect and mindfulness.
To use art not only as a celebratory outlet but also as an educational tool by creating an original work of art that reflects why Juneteenth should be honored and celebrated. If you are Black, you stand with strong wisdom of why Juneteenth is celebrated, and we invite you to express whatever it is you want through this project. If you are not Black, this is an opportunity to further educate yourself and your family, to reflect upon the African-American experience through your creation. Together we can all start repairing bridges that were long ago burned by racism.
- Research materials (articles, books, videos)
- Writing utensils (pencils, pens, markers)
- Art materials (paints, crayons, colored pencils)
Begin by learning about Juneteenth—Why is it important to our nation’s history and why is it honored and celebrated? If you are doing this project as a family, talk about your discoveries, then use this discussion to prompt creative expressions.
Gather your chosen art supplies, then use what you’ve learned (or what you already know) to create an inspired work of art! This can take the form of a painting, drawing, or even a mixed-media collage. Use whatever you have to express your ideas and feelings.
If a prompt is needed to create, one idea is to write down the following phrase: “I celebrate Juneteenth because…” or “I honor Juneteenth by…” then complete your sentence by either writing personal thoughts or using images that visually communicate your ideas.
Discuss your original creations as a group (as few or many as that may safely be!), sharing about why you honor Juneteenth, or what you’ve learned through participating in this project.