Juneteenth (celebrated on June 19th each year) is the anniversary of the day in 1865 when enslaved people in Texas learned they were finally free, a full two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued. Use the Juneteenth writing prompts today.
For Young Learners and All Learners
This important holiday, often called “a second Independence Day,” has been celebrated in various parts of the country ever since it was only finally recognized as a federal holiday in 2021.
Of further note…
Juneteenth has a rich and profound cultural history that students should learn about. This is precisely why we created this list of 31 brand new Juneteenth writing prompts.
You see, Juneteenth commemorates freedom and the lives of those who suffered in slavery—and also honors the culture, traditions, and lives of Black communities in America through time.
And now you can use these Juneteenth writing prompts with your students to help them learn more about the history of Juneteenth and what this holiday really means—and how its struggle to be officially recognized reflects the deep racial inequalities that still exist in America today.
So get to it and use this list of prompts (and discussion questions) with your students today. I think you’ll be glad you did.
31 Juneteenth Writing Prompts
- Why is a holiday like Juneteenth so important to celebrate?
- The first Juneteenth was celebrated in 1865—but it didn’t become a federal holiday until 2021. Why do you think it took so long for the US to officially recognize Juneteenth?
- Read Frederick Douglass’s famous speech entitled “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” and write a response to it.
- When did you first learn about Juneteenth? When did you first learn about the 4th of July? Compare and contrast these experiences.
- Should people of all races take part in Juneteenth celebrations? Why?
- What does Juneteenth tell us about cultural values in America?
- What are some great ways to celebrate Juneteenth?
- Write a story imagining yourself at one of the earliest Juneteenth celebrations. How would you participate? What is the atmosphere like?
- What are some ways in which the US still lacks racial equality?
- What is something you can do to promote racial equality in your community?
- Why is it so important for people to share their cultures with one another?
- Why do you think people call Juneteenth “a second Independence Day”?
- Read “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” by Peggy McIntosh and write a response to it.
- How does society shape our personal, individual identities? What is a person to do when society tells them that they are lesser for something they have no control over, such as being born with a particular skin color?
- Do you think schools do a good job of teaching American history through the perspective of Black people? Why or why not?
- What is the most empowering part of a Juneteenth celebration? Describe it in detail.
- Why is it so damaging for people to act as though they are color blind when it comes to race? How does this approach ignore the experiences of people of color?
- Research common Juneteenth traditions and common Fourth of July traditions, and then compare and contrast them.
- There is a movement in some parts of the country to ban teaching critical race theory (CRT) in schools. Why do you think people are against CRT? And why is it so important that it continues to be taught?
- What does freedom truly mean? Consider freedom through the lens of those who never got to experience it.
- Juneteenth was not observed very widely for many years preceding the end of the civil rights movement because Black people still did not have equal rights in America and many were not inclined to celebrate the holiday. Explain why they may have felt this way.
- Do you know anyone who is racist or has racist attitudes? What are some ways you might challenge their thoughts?
- Do you think of Juneteenth as a happy or sad holiday? Why?
- What does it mean to be Black in America today?
- Research the history of some enslaved people who fought against their captors and write about their experiences.
- A lot of positive stories are told about American history and the end of slavery, but the reality was much uglier. After learning about Juneteenth, can you identify some ways that history has been whitewashed?
- Write about a few aspects of Black culture and explain why they are unique.
- Research why some people consider labor in the prison system to be a form of modern slavery. Then, write about what you learned and explore your thoughts.
- Historian Mitch Kachun has said that a celebration honoring the end of slavery should have three goals: “to celebrate, to educate, and to agitate.” What do you think he meant by this?
- Why is it important for young white students to learn stories about Black history and celebrations like Juneteenth?
- Why is it important to surround yourself with a diverse community? How does interacting with people of different backgrounds enrich your life?
I hope you enjoyed this list of Juneteenth writing prompts and found the educational, insightful, and inspiring.
A Few Closing Thoughts
Writers and students of all ages — from elementary school students to high school students — can use these Juneteenth writing prompts to dig deeper into this important day which is both a celebration of freedom and culture.
In summary, this day originated in Galveston, Texas and is a commemoration of the day of the emancipation of enslaved African-Americans. It is also often observed for celebrating African-American culture and was recognized as a national holiday in the United States in 2021.
To further support your exploration of and dive into the history of this celebration and freedom day, check out the resources linked below.
Here are those…
- Juneteenth: A Celebration of Resilience — A time to gather as a family, reflect on the past and look to the future. Discover ways to celebrate this African American cultural tradition of music, food and freedom.
- Juneteenth Lesson Plan and Juneteenth Activities (writing ones, yay!)
- Juneteenth Flag Coloring Page and Quiz
And here are some…
More Writing Resources for You
- 53 Black History Writing Ideas
- 31 Journal Prompt Ideas on Cultural Appreciation
- 37 Writing Prompts about Family
- See hundreds more prompts in our Creative Writing Prompts Collection
Until next time, keep on writing…
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