Legacies links for June 12, 2023: Juneteenth, slavery in New England, and Freedom Schools in Florida

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Note: In observance of Juneteenth, we won’t be posting any links next Monday, June 19th. Look for more content from us after the holiday!

Cover page of the book "Slave Songs of the United States" (1967).
Slave Songs of the United States (1867) was the first major printed collection of African American music. The songs (mostly spirituals and a few work songs) were collected by Northern abolitionists. source: Smithsonian Libraries


  • Corey D. B. Walker, “6 books that explain the history and meaning of Juneteenth,” The Conversation (June 9, 2023): LINK. Six essential books about Juneteenth including Annette Gordon-Reed’s On Juneteenth (2021) and Ralph Ellison’s posthumously published novel, Juneteenth (1999).
  • Peniel Joseph, “The Story We’ve Been Told About Juneteenth Is Wrong,” Texas Monthly (June 2023): LINK. “A common view about Juneteenth, in both Black and white communities, is that Black folks in Galveston and around Texas were slow to hear or fully grasp the news about the Civil War’s end and the arrival of liberty… But that’s not entirely true.”

Other histories:

  • “Josephine Wright discovers Civil War press is rich resource for continued slave music research,” The College of Wooster (June 5, 2023): LINK. After teaching at CIC member The College of Wooster (Wooster, OH) for 40 years, professor emerita Josephine Wright continues to research the lives and music of enslaved African Americans during the Civil War.
  • Diane Orson, “‘The history is with us’: Remembering New England’s forgotten role in slavery,” New England Public Media (June 7, 2023): LINK. In one small Connecticut town, a middle school is reckoning with the legacy of slavery by partnering with the Witness Stones Project, an organization that helps communities discover and chronicle their local history of slavery.
  • Michelle Coles, “In Defense of Honest Tellings of History,” The Seattle Medium (June 9, 2023): LINK. The author’s novel, Black Was the Ink (2021), was recently banned by a state with new anti-CRT laws. In defense of her novel, Coles argues that “the importance of the Reconstruction Era—and its demise—has been left out or deemphasized in schools.”

And other links:

  • Mark Baldassare, “Californians’ Racial Attitudes and the Reparations Task Force,” Public Policy Institute of California (June 5, 2023): LINK. While California’s Reparations Task Force prepares a list of policy recommendations for state leaders, the Public Policy Institute focuses on how ordinary Californians view racism, the legacy of slavery, and reparations.
  • Ileana Najarro, “Amid Public School Restrictions, ‘Freedom Schools’ in Florida Will Teach Black History,” Education Week (June 5, 2023): LINK. With multiple states adopting new restrictions on the teaching of African American history in public schools, organizations like the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) are joining the fight to teach this history during the summer of 2023, hearkening back to the Freedom Schools of the 1960s.