Planting seeds

New Juneteenth book explores history, culture, and community-building


Planting People Growing Justice Leadership Institute is proud to announce that James Johnson is the winner of our Writing for Social Change Competition. His children’s book, “Ol’ Jim Crow’s Jubilee Day Caper,” will be released on Juneteenth 2022 and he will be honored at our annual PPGJLI’s Community Celebration.
Mr. Johnson is a south Minneapolis native and the education director of Evolve Family Services. Written for children and adults alike, the book is inspiring and educational. It provides a detailed history of Juneteenth and ignites hope for the future. The author dedicated the book to “all the young social justice superheroes who find their superpowers through reading.”
The theme of the writing competition focused on arts-based community development. Mr. Johnson handled the topic beautifully in an age-appropriate manner as only a true storyteller can. His original manuscript features African Americans celebrating the end of slavery and how Juneteenth came to be.
In “Ol’ Jim Crow’s Jubilee Day Caper,” the author captures the spirit of Juneteenth, while the villain, Jim Crow, looks down from a cloud. He is still trying to disrupt festivities and spread anti-Black racism after more than 100 years. No matter what he does, Crow cannot crush the celebrants’ spirit.
Jubilee Day is now known as Juneteenth and marks the day on June 19, 1865, when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, to ensure that more than 250,000 enslaved African American people were freed and to enforce the edict. The action came two and half years after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation which declared the ending of slavery on Jan. 1, 1863. In 1890, Juneteenth was celebrated as Jubilee Day by African Americans throughout Texas.
Juneteenth is a combination of the words June and nineteenth – Juneteenth. It has been referred to as “America’s second Independence Day.” It has been known by many names over the years, including Emancipation Day, Freedom Day, Black Independence Day, and Jubilee Day. African Americans celebrate on June 19 of each year with feasts of red food and drink in remembrance of their ties to West African traditions and the bloodshed by their enslaved ancestors. Now a federal holiday, all Americans are reminded of the history of racial terrorism while yet challenged today to make justice and freedom a lived reality for all.
* This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.
Through her organization, Planting People Growing Justice Leadership Institute, Dr. Artika Tyner seeks to plant seeds of social change through education, training, and community outreach.


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