Juneteenth Lesson Plans

Juneteenth lesson plans open the door for discussions about the slavery, the Emancipation Proclamation, and Civil Rights.

By Cathy Neushul


Juneteenth Lesson Plan

In this time in history it's hard to believe that it would take more than a few seconds for anyone to find out information. With the click of a button, news is sent to your inbox. But things were very different in the 19th Century. It took years for the slaves living in Texas to get word of the Emancipation Proclamation. When they did, on June 19, 1865, there was a lot of celebrating.

This spontaneous celebration gave birth to the Juneteeth version. While it is a time for barbecues and other forms of celebration, it is also marked by self reflection. People celebrate this event by listening to speakers, and participating in other thought provoking activities.

By teaching Juneteenth lessons teachers can lead students on a journey through history. They can discuss slavery, the Emancipation Proclamation, and the Civil Rights Movements. Even though students may not realize it, people all over our nation are fighting for equality and to be treated fairly. These are not issues that have been dealt with by our ancestors, these are ongoing problems that need to be addressed.

While students can gain from learning about the history of the Juneteenth celebration, they also may enjoy finding out more about the Civil War, and what led Abraham Lincoln to write the Emancipation Proclamation. The steps that led to Lincoln's historic decision are fascinating.

Juneteenth Lesson Plans:

Juneteenth Proclamation Jubilation: In this lesson students learn about the Emancipation, and Juneteenth celebrations. Students can discuss the fact that it took three years for the slaves in Texas to get word that they were emancipated. They can create their own Emancipation Proclamation documents.   

Celebrating Juneteenth in Texas: Students learn about the history of slavery in Texas, and the origins of the Juneteenth celebration. Students use primary documents to aid their understanding of this holiday.

Before, During, and After the Emancipation Proclamation Lesson Plan: This lesson provides an overview of  slavery, the Civil War, and the Emancipation Proclamation. It provides links to information about Abraham Lincoln, Civil War battles, and a link to the original Emancipation Proclamation document. 

Liberty and Justice for All: After learning about the Emancipation Proclamation, students examine the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth amendments to the constitution. They discuss the impact these had on society. This lesson gives students a way to discuss the reasons that the Emancipation Proclamation was a first step on the road to equality.