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In Honor of Juneteenth, Videos and Other Civics Education Resources

In honor of Juneteenth, the annual holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States, Annenberg Classroom and the Civics Renewal Network are spotlighting educational resources for teachers, students, and others at home who want to learn more about the history and legacy of slavery in our nation.

Juneteenth, the 19th of June, commemorates the date in 1865, more than two and a half years after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, that word reached Galveston, Texas, on the western edge of the former Confederate states, that all slaves were free.

Among the free resources we have available are:

Jury Selection: Edmonson v. Leesville Concrete Co. This 23-minute documentary tells the story of how a personal-injury lawsuit brought by Thaddeus Edmonson, an African American construction worker, against his employer evolved into a landmark jury selection case on the Sixth Amendment right to an impartial jury. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Edmonson v. Leesville Concrete Co. that under the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause, parties in civil cases cannot use race-based peremptory challenges to reject potential jurors. Watch it here:

Thaddeus Edmonson in a film highlighted for Juneteenth
Thaddeus Edmonson in “Jury Selection: Edmonson v. Leesville Concrete Company”

An Independent Judiciary: Cherokee Nation v. Georgia and Cooper v. Aaron This 34-minute documentary, featuring Justice Stephen G. Breyer and leading constitutional scholars, chronicles two key moments that defined our understanding of the role of the judiciary: the Cherokee Nation’s struggles before the U.S. Supreme Court in the 1830s to preserve its homeland in Cherokee Nation v. Georgia, and Cooper v. Aaron (1958), which affirmed that states were bound to follow the Court’s order to integrate their schools. Watch it here:

A newspaper headline from a video being highlighted for Juneteenth
A scene from “An Independent Judiciary: Cherokee Nation v. Georgia and Cooper v. Aaron”

Thurgood This video shows a production of the critically acclaimed play starring Laurence Fishburne as the nation’s first African-American Supreme Court justice. Unlike other videos on Annenberg Classroom, the video is available only to teachers, educators, and students who must register on the Annenberg Classroom site:

In addition, the Civics Renewal Network, a consortium of more than 30 nonprofit, nonpartisan organizations dedicated to making high-quality, free civics resources available to educators and the public, features resources for teachers and students from K-12 on the history of slavery, including videos, readings, and lesson plans.

Annenberg Classroom is a project of the Leonore Annenberg Institute for Civics, a nonprofit, nonpartisan program of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, in partnership with the Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands. The Civics Renewal Network was convened in 2013 by the Annenberg Public Policy Center. Its partners include the U.S. Courts, the Library of Congress, iCivics, the National Constitution Center, Annenberg Classroom, the American Bar Association, the National Archives, and many others. Learn more about the partners.