South Orangetown Central School District

In recognition of Juneteenth, Cottage Lane Elementary School students in Lawanda Lane’s fifth grade class and Jennifer Grennan’s fourth grade class learned about the history of Juneteenth and created murals to highlight the significance of the federal holiday.

To start each lesson, classes watched an educational video explaining how Juneteenth commemorates the anniversary of the emancipation of all enslaved African Americans in the United States. Lane and Grennan explained that although President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, enslaved African Americans in Texas were not told they were free until June 19, 1865.

Students were asked to make a mural with visuals that can inform the public about Juneteenth and represent freedom for everyone. “It’s important that students know that Juneteenth is more than just a day off of school. My goal is for them to do something to commemorate the day. I want the messages that they convey in their murals to leave a lasting imprint and that next year on Juneteenth, they will plan something on their own to recognize the holiday and tell their families the history behind it,” said Lane.

In Grennan’s class, students were asked to turn and talk with their classmates to discuss what they learned about Juneteenth and what struck them the most. After talking with their peers, students were given the choice to create their own mural or extend their learning with additional reading materials and informative videos.

Juneteenth lesson in Lawanda Lane's class