Understanding the Significance and Relevance of Juneteenth in the United States

The following materials have been carefully curated by Mayer Brown’s Diversity & Inclusion team to provide context for the firm’s recognition of June 19, Juneteenth, as a paid holiday in our US offices.

We offer these materials as a core set of essential resources that you should consider to be a starting point in your education about the impact of race in America. Approximate time commitments for each resource are noted in parentheses. Resources and events that have been added for 2021 are notated by an asterisk.



1619 Podcast

The New York Times' critically acclaimed podcast “1619” examines how slavery continues to shape modern-day America. It’s long-form journalism, delivered as a story told in five parts:

Trailer: Introducing “1619”(5 mins)
Episode 1: The Fight for a True Democracy (44 mins)
Episode 2: The Economy That Slavery Built (33 mins)
Episode 3: The Birth of American Music (35 mins)
Episode 4: How the Bad Blood Started (40 mins)
Episode 5: The Land of Our Fathers, Part 1 (30 mins), Part 2 (37 mins)


Code Switch

Code Switch is a weekly podcast featuring fearless conversations on race and culture from American public radio network NPR.

Recommended episodes:
The Racial Reckoning That Wasn't (36 mins)
A Decade of Watching Black People Die (22 mins)
Not Just Another Protest (42 mins)


Dreams of Black Wall Street Podcast

Dreams of Black Wall Street is a podcast that takes a look back in history at a time of great promise and great disappointment for Black Americans who dreamed of and struggled for the promise of community and full citizenship.




Attend Virtually

* 12th Annual Juneteenth 2021, a three-day summit online or in person (NY) to celebrate the community through empowerment, health and wellness, education, and entertainment. (June 18-20, 9 am-6 pm ET)
* Juneteenth BLK Freedom Virtual Celebration, the National Civil Rights Museum virtually joins nine leading Black museums and historical institutions from coast to coast to commemorate Juneteenth. The annual collaboration has produced a film documenting the national exploration of the deep-rooted anthem “Lift Every Voice and Sing” through the eyes of historic museums and anthropologists from across the United States. (June 18, 12 pm ET)
* Beyond Resilience | The Black Joy Playlist, an event celebrating music documentaries by and about Black artists. (June 18, 2:30 pm ET)
* Juneteenth Stories of Freedom, the Peale and the Griots’ Circle of Maryland present a Juneteenth virtual storytelling event featuring African American storytellers. (June 19, 1 pm ET)
* The Amistad Center for Art & Culture's 2021 Virtual Juneteenth Celebration, a spectacular night of music, song, art and celebration (June 19, 6:15 pm ET)
* Fallen Heroes, Rising Stars: A Juneteenth Celebration Through Dance, a celebration of dance, music & U.S. history for the entire family, honoring musical greats & civic leaders with electrifying tributes. (June 26, 9 pm ET)
* Juneteenth: A Celebration Of Resilience | Virtual Programs Through the National Museum of African American History & Culture (viewings on June 19 are encouraged, but programs are pre-recorded and available on-demand):
* Porch Stories – Tales Of Slavery And Beyond: Internationally recognized storyteller, Jan Blake shares two stories with insights into the wisdom and strength of America’s post-slavery communities and the futures they faced.
* Community Soundstage: A Conversation With Amythyst Kiah: Three acoustic numbers will be performed by Amythyst Kiah, whose rock inflected country compositions redefine the limits of roots music to represent the influence of Black musicians.
* Genealogy & Records Of Intrigue: Using a case of "Reverse Genealogy" the family history of an enslaved spinner & weaver will be traced from the era of the American Revolution to the turn of the century.
* Black Smoke: African Americans And The United States Of Barbecue: A conversation with Adrian Miller about his book Black Smoke, focused on the perseverance, culinary innovation, and entrepreneurship of African Americans whose faces and stories have been marginalized from the story of this American cuisine.
* Juneteenth: Connecting The Historic To The Now: A panel of scholars will explore the origins of Juneteenth and discuss the historical and current political significance of the holiday.



KidsJuneteenth Jamboree explores stories of Black culture and history and includes highlights from a decade of Juneteenth celebrations (27 mins)

Woman in Orange Shirt

Why Juneteenth is Important for America, a very brief history lesson (4 mins)



The 2016 documentary “13th,” (a reference to the 13th Amendment of the US Constitution) examines racial prejudices within the US prison system through interviews with politicians, historians, academics and convicts. It draws powerful similarities between the profit-driven slave trade and the profit-driven mass incarceration industry that continues today. (1 hr 40 mins)

Parent and Child

Black parents explain how to deal with the police to their children (5 mins)


NFL Player Emmanuel Acho answers questions about race (9 mins)

Professor Bryan Stevenson

NYU Law JD Convocation Keynote Address by NYU law professor and criminal justice expert Bryan Stevenson (32 mins)


Reconstruction: America After the Civil War is a four-part documentary that explores the transformative years following the American Civil War, when the nation struggled to rebuild itself in the face of profound loss, destruction, and social change. 

Part 1 (56 mins), Part 2 (56 mins), Part 3 (56 mins), Part 4 (55 mins)


TimelineExplore this timeline to learn how history unfolded during the Reconstruction era, 1863-1877



Chase Madar

Brianna Holt

Claire Cain Miller

Dr. Ibram X. Kendi

Michelle Alexander

Penn GSE News


Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents Cover   The Sum of Us Cover   On Juneteenth Cover   The Color of Law Cover   Stony the Road Cover


Stamped from the Beginning   How to be an Antiracist   The New Jim Crow   So You Want to Talk About Race   A Spectacular Secret


For Children


Sulwe   Kids Book


ShouldersOn The Shoulder of Giants (40 mins)





Talking About Race (webpage by the National Museum of African American History & Culture)


The Day You Begin Stamped for Kids Cover A is for All the Things You Are Cover Milo Imagines the World Cover  Let It Shine