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Though best known as a Pulitzer and National Book Award-winning historian (for The Hemingses of Monticello), Annette Gordon-Reed is also a proud Texas native and descendant of Texas slaves, for whom the story of Juneteenth has special resonance.
In ON JUNETEENTH, Gordon-Reed combines her own scholarship with a personal and intimate reflection of an overlooked holiday that has suddenly taken on new significance in a post-George Floyd world.
As Gordon-Reed writes, “It is staggering that there is no date commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.” Yet, Texas—the last state to free its slaves—has long acknowledged the moment on June 19, 1865, when US Major General Gordon Granger proclaimed from his headquarters in Galveston that slavery was no longer the law of the land. ON JUNETEENTH takes us beyond the stories of Gordon-Reed’s childhood, providing a Texan’s view of the long, non-traditional road to a national recognition of the holiday.