Largo, Md. – The Prince George’s County Memorial Library System (PGCMLS) will commemorate Juneteenth 2021 with a wide range of virtual programs that honor the strength and resilience of Black Americans who have faced systemic oppression on these lands for over 400 years. The programs will be presented between June 1 and 19, culminating with the Library’s observance of June 19 as an official library holiday, as was recently approved by the PGCMLS Board of Library Trustees. The Juneteenth series begins on June 1 at 7 pm as PGCMLS and Loyalty Bookstores host the national book launch of author and commentator Clint Smith’s book “How the Word is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America.” Smith is also a contributor to “Four Hundred Souls,” a landmark publication documenting Black perspectives on American history since the 17th century. All PGCMLS Juneteenth events are free, however registration is recommended for the Clint Smith event (clintsmithlaunch.eventbrite.com).
A native Marylander, Smith previously worked as a high school English teacher in Prince George’s County and has risen to national prominence with his authoritative work on the implications of race in America. Smith’s appearance is co-presented with the Prince George’s County Office of Human Rights, Joe’s Movement Emporium, and Prince George’s Community College’s Center for Performing Arts.
Additional Juneteenth author events feature Christina Proenza-Coles and Hannibal B. Johnson. On June 7 at 7 pm, Christina Proenza-Coles author of “American Founders,” shares how Black people developed and defended New World settlements, undermined slavery, and championed freedom. In this Howard County Library event on June 10 at 7 pm (co-sponsored by PGCMLS), author Hannibal B. Johnson reflects on the Tulsa Massacre that took place 100 years ago, May 31 – June 1, 1921, as addressed in his book, “Black Wall Street 100: An American City Grapples With Its Historical Racial Trauma.”
Juneteenth arts events include:
- Voices of Woodlawn on June 17 at 6 pm features four poets giving voice to the erased lives of slaves at Woodlawn, a Fairfax, Virginia plantation that is now a historic estate.
- T.J. Anderson III commemorates Black Music Month with a discussion of poetry and jazz on June 21 at 7 pm, presented by PGCMLS and the Prince George’s County Human Relations Commission.
The Juneteenth holiday is an annual commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States. On June 19, 1865, enslaved African Americans in Galveston Bay, Texas learned of their freedom from the Union Army, 2.5 years after the Emancipation Proclamation was announced. Juneteenth is the longest standing African American holiday observed in the United States. Visit the Library’s Juneteenth Heritage Hub for book recommendations for all ages and a Juneteenth movie watch list from Kanopy.
Juneteenth 2021 Virtual Event Calendar
- Clint Smith “How the Word is Passed” – National Launch Event
Tuesday, June 1 at 7 pm | Adults
- “American Founders” with Christina Proenza-Coles
Monday, June 7 at 7 pm | Adults
- Black Wall Street 100 – An American City Grapples with its Historical Racial Trauma with Hannibal B. Johnson
Thursday, June 10 at 7 pm | Adults
- Read Aloud: Juneteenth
Monday, June 14 at 10 am | Ages 5 and under
- Juneteenth: A Cooking Celebration
Tuesday, June 15 at 6 pm | Adults
- Beyond the Year of Return in Ghana: Reflections and Opportunities, a conversation with Jay Cameron
Tuesday, June 15 at 7 pm | Adults
- Dwayne Ratleff on “Dancing to the Lyrics”
Wednesday, June 16 at 7 pm | Adults
- Voices of Woodlawn
Thursday, June 17 at 6 pm | Adults
- STEM at Home: DNA and Your Family Tree
Friday, June 18 at 12 pm | Ages 5-12
- PGCMLS Book Talk: Kindred by Octavia Butler
Friday, June 18 at 7 pm | Adults
- T.J. Anderson III on Poetry and Jazz
Monday, June 21 at 7 pm | Adults
About the Prince George’s County Memorial Library System
The Prince George’s County Memorial Library System (PGCMLS) helps customers discover and define opportunities that shape their lives. The Library serves the 915,000+ residents of Prince George’s County, Maryland through 19 branch libraries, a 24/7 online library, and pop-up services throughout the community. PGCMLS is a responsive and trusted community-driven organization. Programs, services, and outreach activities serve booklovers, immigrants and refugees, job seekers, children, young professionals, seniors, and families alike.
PGCMLS’ robust online offerings include curated content collections for kids, teens, educators, Spanish speakers, and more. Virtual events and outreach provide access to the Library from the comfort of home or on the go. Special programs include the D.R.E.A.M. Lab, STEM Pals, and 3D printing, which offer teens and lifelong learners with opportunities to learn cutting-edge technology and STEM skills for job readiness or personal enrichment. The Library also provides drive-up WiFi access at all branches and mobile hotspot devices. The Library’s Laurel Branch Library received the 2018 AIA/ALA Library Building Award and was designated the best new public building in Maryland.
As a strong community partner, the Library regularly collaborates with local government agencies and non-profit organizations to provide access to essential community services and programs. Partners include the Prince George’s County Human Relations Commission, Employ Prince George’s, Prince George’s County Public Schools, and Prince George’s Community College. Learn more at pgcmls.info or by visiting the Largo-Kettering Branch at 9601 Capital Lane, Largo, MD 20774.