Juneteenth: Fiction & Non-Fiction

Updated: July 1, 2024

There are not that many adult books specifically about Juneteenth. In fact there are more books for children which can be found here. However, we are including a book written for children, a biography about Opal Lee, which is superb in content and form. 


Book cover for Come Juneteenth
Come Juneteenth
Rinaldi, Ann.

Ann Rinaldi vividly portrays how a family in Texas does not honestly deal with the fact that slavery has come to an end, and how this will affect the lives of two young women raised as sisters.

Book cover for Envisioning Emancipation: Black Americans and the End of Slavery
Envisioning Emancipation: Black Americans and the End of Slavery
Willis, Deborah
Call Number: 301.45096 W734

Photographic historian Deborah Willis and historian of slavery Barbara Krauthamer worked on this book that has over 140 photographs from the antebellum days of the 1850s through the New Deal era of the 1930s. Among the photographs, some never before published, are Juneteenth celebrations and slave reunions.


Book cover of Juneteenth : a novel
Juneteenth : a novel
Ellison, Ralph.

Juneteenth: a novel is the title of Ralph Ellison’s second novel that was incomplete when he died. The novel is not directly about the infamous day of Juneteenth, one among many pivotal days in African American history. True artist that he was, Ellison’s choice of the title and the novel’s brilliant plot reveal the consequences pf slavery. There are implicit themes in the novel that propel the actions of the main characters, and those are racial purity and superiority. The unknown racial origins of these characters and how they behave are evidence that the origins (racial, ethnic, religious, or other factors) of anyone should not be used to stereotype or treat an individual or a group unfairly.


Book cover for Juneteenth: A Celebration of Freedom
Juneteenth: A Celebration of Freedom
Taylor, Charles A. 1950-
Call Number: 808.821 J95Ta

This book provides a concise history about Juneteenth, specifically why it was necessary to issue General Order No. 3, on June 19, 1865, more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. The authors include information about slavery, southern secession, the Civil War, the emancipation movement, the significance of Juneteenth, and various types of Juneteenth celebrations.

Book cover for Legends of Texas barbecue cookbook : recipes and recollections from the pitmasters
Legends of Texas Barbecue Cookbook
Walsh, Robb
Call Number: 641.76 W226 2016

This is the revised version of an earlier book, with additional new content; new photos of pitmasters; references to the historic BBQ Summer Camp and Camp Brisket at the University of Texas photos of new restaurants. Of special note is a chapter, "Celebrating Juneteenth. The Legacy of East Texas," which has historic photographs, recipes and stories.

Book cover for Lone star pasts : memory and history in Texas
Lone Star Pasts: Memory and History in Texas
Call Number: 976.4 L8475

"Texas' pasts are examined in this groundbreaking volume, featuring chapters by a wide range of scholars."  Memory and history face off in this book, especially about the history of 19th century Texas. The chapter "Juneteenth: Emancipation and Memory" is by Elizabeth Hayes Turner, historian and scholar, and includes over 70 notes that reference books, newspaper articles and legal citations.

Book cover for On Juneteenth
On Juneteenth
Gordon-Reed, Annette
Call Number: 326.09764 G6655

Juneteenth is a federal holiday that celebrates the freedom of enslaved peoples at the end of the Civil War. The collection of essays are primarily based on historical research written by Annette Gordon-Reed (historian, lawyer, law professor, multi-award-winning writer, and native-born Texan). However, these essays thoughtfully weave together personal remembrances and history because Gordon-Reed is a native Texan and Black woman, whose family has roots going back to the 1820s and 1860s.

Book cover for Opal Lee and What It Means To Be Free
Opal Lee and What It Means To Be Free
Duncan, Alice Faye
Call Number: x 92 L4774Du

To date, this is the only biography of Opal Lee, frequently described as "the grandmother of Juneteenth." Beautifully illustrated with full-page color illustrations, the book has a Juneteenth Timeline, and a notable list of "Sources" about Juneteenth that cite newspaper and journal articles, as well as websites.

Book cover for Watermelon & red birds : a cookbook for Juneteenth and black celebrations
Watermelon & Red Birds: A Cookbook for Juneteenth and Black Celebrations
Taylor, Nicole A.
Call Number: 641.5973 T2445-1

A unique book that is the first cookbook devoted entirely to Juneteenth. It is lavishly illustrated with photographs, history, and marvelous recipes.