June 19 is otherwise known as Juneteenth, a pivotal time for remembrance and celebration.

We asked several of our authors what Juneteenth means to them, and this is what they had to say:

“Juneteenth is a day both of joy and sadness. While we celebrate the ‘end’ of slavery, the day also reminds us that many of our ancestors remained enslaved for two more years after they had been declared free.”

 

—Lisa Moore Ramée, author of A Good Kind of Trouble, Something to Sayand the upcoming Mapmaker (on-sale September 20, 2022)

Photo by Rod Searcey

“Juneteenth (June 19th), also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, represents the promise of this nation unrealized, but also the dream to continue to work toward until it is realized.”

 

—Maurice Broaddus, author of The Usual Suspects and Unfadeable

Photo by WildStyle Da Producer

“Juneteenth is a way to celebrate our survival in spite of overwhelming odds. It means telling our stories in our own words and honoring our contributions to the world when few of them have been commemorated. It means recognizing the past while looking optimistically, joyously toward our future.” 

 

—Eden Royce, author of Root Magic

Photo by Tim Hensel

“Juneteenth reminds me how vigilant we must remain in the fight for equity and equality, because there are far too many working against it. When I reflect back to how enslaved Texans must have felt upon learning that emancipation had come two years before, it’s motivation to amplify injustices and deflate misinformation as swiftly as communication allows.”

 

—Paula Chase, author of So Done, Dough Boys, Turning Point, and Keeping It Real

Paula Chase by Capture the Seen Photography

“Juneteenth is an excellent time to remember that freedom is hard won and that we are living our ancestors’ wildest dreams. But! We still have work to do.”

 

—Justina Ireland, author of Ophie’s Ghosts

Photo by Justina Ireland

 

“Juneteenth reminds me that freedom is not just a word, and not anything another person can really give or take. Freedom is, and always has been, a state of heart and mind.”

 

—Denise Lewis Patrick, author of VIP: Mahalia Jackson

Fran Baltzer Photo

“I never celebrated Juneteenth as a child, but it means a lot to me as an adult. Juneteenth represents freedom and hope for the future, as well as Black pride!”

 

—Janae Marks, author of From the Desk of Zoe Washington

 

 

“Juneteenth embodies the Emma Lazarus quotation, ‘Until we are all free, we are none of us free.’ It means that though justice is delayed for some, that I, with my mind, my heart, and my two hands, can ensure it will never be deterred.”

—Tanita S. Davis, author of Serena Says

Photo by David T. Macknet

“Juneteenth is a day of remembrance. It means honoring those who came before and the sacrifices that were made to afford me the freedoms I have as an African American in this country.”

 

—B.B. Alston, author of Amari and the Night Brothers

Joshua Aaron Photography

“Juneteenth is a day of honoring and reckoning with the truth of enslavement and emancipation. It is a day to acknowledge that not everyone was immediately free when Lincoln declared emancipation and it took two years for word to reach enslaved African Americans in Texas. Juneteenth is a day among many to continue building and investing in community, speaking truth, and fighting for justice.”

—Tiffany Jewell, #1 New York Times bestselling author of This Book Is Anti-Racist and the upcoming book The Antiracist Kid (October 4, 2022)