Night Before Freedom: A Juneteenth Story
Author: Glenda Armand
Illustrator: Corey Barksdale
'Twas the night before freedom, and all through the South,
long-whispered rumors had, spread word of mouth.
"It’s coming! It’s coming!" I heard people say.
"Emancipation is coming our way."
Eight-year-old David and his family gather at Grandma’s house in Galveston, Texas, for a cherished family tradition: Grandma’s annual retelling of the story of Juneteenth, the holiday that commemorates the end of slavery in the United States.
The signing of the Emancipation Proclamation by President Abraham Lincoln meant that all enslaved persons within the rebellious states would be free as of January 1, 1863. However, people in Texas did not receive the news of their emancipation until two and a half years later—on June 19, 1865.
Grandma tells the story of anticipation, emancipation, and jubilation just as it was told to her many years before by her own grandmother, Mom Bess. As a six-year-old, Bess had experienced the very first Juneteenth. Before that day, she could only imagine what liberty would look like. But once freedom arrived, would it live up to a little girl’s dreams?
The story is written in the same meter as Clement C. Moore's The Night Before Christmas, making it a perfect book for parents and kids to read together.