Post Author
Alison Gowans
Post Tags

Juneteenth celebrates the end of slavery in the United States by marking the day the news of the Emancipation Proclamation reached Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865. 

The African American Museum of Iowa is commemorating Juneteenth this year with a full week of events, culminating in a festival on the lawn at NewBo City Market on Saturday, June 17 from 11 am-3 pm.

Events also include:

  • Decolonizing Mental Health screening, Wednesday, June 14, 6 pm, free, Downtown Library
    • Decolonizing Mental Health dismantles the racism that underscores the mental healthcare industry. By focusing its gaze on the transformative work of therapists and individuals of color, it calls for a redressal of the ways in which we define psychiatric illness and health. Through 20 profiles, the digital series discusses what a more responsive mental health care system should look like. A facilitated discussion led by Anne Harris Carter will immediately follow the screening.
  • dwb (driving while black) with the Des Moines Metro Opera, Friday, June 16, 6 pm, Downtown Library, free but registration required
    • dwb (driving while black) is a new opera from composer Susan Kander and librettist Roberta Gumbel. This piece is montage of poetic and haunting moments examining the trials and triumphs Black mothers experience as their children come of age in a society plagued by racism and inequality (runtime: 45 min). A moderated discussion and reception will follow the performance.

  • 1619 Freedom School Interview with Dr. Ashley Howard, online premiere June 19

Before the events, get ready for the holiday by checking out these books for young readers. Scroll through the titles below and click on book covers to learn more about them and put them on hold in our catalog.


  1. "What is Juneteenth?" by Kirsti Jewel
  2. "The Juneteenth Story: Celebrating the End of Slavery in the United States" by Alliah L. Agostini
  3. "All Good in the Hood" by Dwayne Reed
  4. "Build a House" by Rhiannon Giddens, Rhiannon
  5. "Opal Lee and What it Means to be Free: the True Story of the Grandmother of Juneteenth" by Alice Faye Duncan
  6. "The History of Juneteenth: a History Book for New Readers" by Arlisha Norwood
  7. "Let's Celebrate Juneteenth" by Tonya Abari
  8. "The Night Before Freedom: a Juneteenth Story" by Glenda Armand
  9. "The Story of Juneteenth: an Interactive History Adventure" by Steven Otfinoski
  10. "Free at Last: a Juneteenth Poem" by Sojourner Kincaid-Rolle
  11. "Juneteenth Jamboree" by Carole Boston Weatherford
  12. "Juneteenth for Mazie" by Floyd Cooper
  13. "A Flag for Juneteenth" by Kim Taylor