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Juneteenth History

Juneteenth is a holiday that was first celebrated spontaneously on June 19, 1865. The event marked the freedom of slaves in Texas. For many years afterwards, the day was celebrated annually in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana and Oklahoma by African Americans. It became less popular in the Twentieth Century, but a revival took place during the Civil Rights Movement. Between 2002 and 2007, the holiday also saw a resurgence in popularity.

The importance of Juneteenth is to celebrate the freedom of black people in America and to remember the roots of slavery. The holiday is not always celebrated on the 19th. In many places, the third Saturday of the month is used to celebrate the holiday.

Many celebrations include the Akan saying, Sankofa, which means "retrieving the past is no taboo, thus say the ancestors."

Find out more using the library's TexShare databases: Hume J, Arceneaux N. Public Memory, Cultural Legacy, and Press Coverage of the Juneteenth Revival.Journalism History. 2…
Recent posts

Today in Westside Library History: Library Association Plans new Westside Library, 1977

Director of the El Paso Public Libraries and the El Paso Public Library Association made plans to use a trailer for the location of the new Westside Library. The trailer had previously been used to house the Pavo Real Branch Library in Ysleta.

Read more here: El Paso Herald-Post 16 June 1977

Branch Manager Reviews: Boy Erased by Garrard Conley

Boy Erased: A Memoir by Garrad Conley

This book is truly beautiful. It's a meditation on family relationships, coming out and Christian faith. This true story describes a few years in the life of Garrad Conley, a preacher's son. He struggles with his faith and his homosexuality. He is able to successfully hide it for some time, but eventually he's outed and decides to go through "gay conversion therapy."

The experiences he and his family go through are told in honest and beautiful prose. Garrad loves his family and his faith is important to him. He struggles to make everything right. Especially wonderful in this story is the touching relationship between Garrad and both his parents. He goes through a lot with his parents through this story and it's clear they are all trying to do what is right, even if their instincts lead them astray.

I found this book to be heartbreaking and eventually hopeful. Garrad's story isn't unique: many other young people h…

Branch manager reviews: American Radical by Tamer Elnoury

American Radical: Inside the World of an Undercover Muslim FBI Agent by Tamer Elnoury with Kevin Maurer

This book invites you into the world of undercover work. The book opens with Elnoury working on drug cases with the police. We also find out more about his personal life and why he wanted to work for the FBI Once Elnoury does start working with the FBI, he becomes involved with taking down a would-be Al-Qaeda terrorist in Canada.

One of the most interesting things to me was getting to see inside of both undercover work and inside the mind of a faithful Muslim. Elnoury is often distressed at how his religion is perverted by terrorists. Elnoury is a faithful Muslim and proud of his faith and heritage. Reconciling his true feelings with the undercover work he has to do isn't easy.

Check out American Radical from the library today!

You Missed It! Free Comic Book Day & May the Fourth Be With You

On May the 4th, we had a huge celebration at the library! We gave away free comics provided by There were so many excellent titles to choose from. Everyone visiting the library was able to take some home.

We also celebrated Star Wars. At Storytime, kids made Princess Leia hair buns or Yoda ears to wear. Later in the day, we made lightsabers out of pool noodles and duct tape. Of course, we watched a Star Wars movie, played themed games and gave away some cool Star Wars books.

Next time, see you we will!

Get Your Garden Started at the Library

Did you know that you can get free garden seeds at the library? The Westside Library has vegetable, herb and flower seeds so that you can work on your "green thumb."

If you're not sure how to get started gardening, make sure you ask to see some of books about gardening! Some new books that we just got might interest you. A few new ones are listed below.

Countertop Gardens by Shelley LevisHow to Grow Mushrooms From Scratchby Magdalena & Herbert WurthStarting & Saving Seedsby Julie Thompson-Adolf

Branch Manager Reviews: The Disasters by M.K. England

The Disasters by M.K. England

The Disasters is a truly refreshing story. It's a space adventure, a story about unlikely friendships and saving the world. The main characters have all washed out of the elite space academy at Ellis Station. They're all on their way home, about to board a shuttle back to Earth when disaster strikes. They escape and become the only witnesses to the act of terrorism on the station. And now the four washouts are on the lam from very dangerous people.

All of the characters are vibrant and different from the usual young adult heroes. The story is narrated by Pakastani-American, Nax, who grew up on a farm in Iowa (echoes of Captain Kirk?). The action starts right away as Nax meets his fellow washouts and then they are all working together to escape from the terrorists. I really came to like Nax and enjoyed his story arc throughout the book.

The book is written for teens, but adults will also enjoy this excellent and fun adventure story.

Find it at the li…