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The History Behind Juneteenth
by Brandon Priddy, Public Services Librarian

Juneteenth, a portmanteau of June and nineteenth, also called Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, and Liberation Day has been celebrated for 155 years. ***1 So what is the origin of the holiday?  According to the Gale History database:

“On April 16, 1862, several months prior to the Emancipation Proclamation, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Compensated Emancipation Act, which freed all enslaved persons in the District of Columbia.  The majority of American slaves, however, earned their freedom well after …[and] many were not liberated until the war was nearly over.  The most widespread emancipation celebration commemorates the moment when slavery was finally outlawed in Texas. Several months after Robert E. Lee's surrender at Appomattox Court House, Virginia, emancipation remained but a rumor for the nearly 250,000 slaves in Texas. However, on June 19, 1865, federal troops arrived in Galveston and announced that slavery was abolished in the state.  Celebrations on June 19, called Juneteenth, continue both in Texas and beyond. In 1968 civil rights leader Ralph Abernathy encouraged participants in the Poor People's March to Washington, DC, to take up the holiday, and Juneteenth celebrations now occur throughout the United States.” ***2

Mt. Lebanon Public Library wishes everyone an enjoyable and contemplative celebration of Juneteenth.  We are dedicated to sharing African American history and culture in our community.  Please join us virtually on Monday, June 22nd at 7 PM to hear Samuel W. Black, Director of the African American Program at the Senator John Heinz History Center, present his lecture The History of the Pittsburgh Courier.  You can register here.  Then next month, join local Poet Dessie Bey for her program Know Thyself: An African American Poetic Journey on Thursday, July 23rd at 7:00 PM.  You can register here.  



***2 Wright, Ben. "Emancipation Day." America in the World, 1776 to the Present: A Supplement to the Dictionary of American History, edited by Edward J. Blum, vol. 1, Charles Scribner's Sons, 2016, pp. 319-321. Gale In Context: U.S. History, Accessed 18 June 2020.



Please join us on Saturday, June 20 from 1:00 - 2:30 pm for the following virtual program:

Managing Anxiety and Stress During a Pandemic


During this challenging time of social distancing, focusing on self-care and your own mental health is crucial.  Join Andrew Eppich, LCSW, for a conversation on how to manage anxiety and stress during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Andrew Eppich is a licensed Clinical Social Worker and has been in the field of counseling and social work since 1995.  He specializes in addictions, gambling addiction, dual diagnosis, GLBT issues, grief, and bereavement issues. He has expertise in group counseling for early recovery, families in recovery, and grief support.

The Librarian coordinating the event will email each registrant a Zoom meeting invitation approximately an hour before the start of the program.  Zoom is available as a free desktop (for Windows, MacOS, and Linux Operating systems) and mobile application for Android and Apple iOS devices. Once Zoom is installed, you will be able to join the virtual Library program.

Registration is required.  By registering for this event you have agreed to comply with the library's patron behavior policy. All non-compliant participants will be immediately and permanently blocked from further participation.  Because the Librarian facilitating the event will not be able to provide live technical support during the virtual program, it is strongly encouraged you familiarize yourself with Zoom in advance of the program. You can also contact the Library’s Virtual Reference Service for assistance learning Zoom.  You can also join a test meeting to familiarize yourself with Zoom. For more in-depth instructions please visit the Zoom support page on joining a meeting.

Register using this link

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Contact Us

Mt. Lebanon Public Library
16 Castle Shannon Blvd
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15228
(412) 531-1912

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