Thursday, June 16, 2022

By Amanda Alaniz

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed in Galveston, Texas with news the Civil War had ended, also marking the end of slavery in the country.

Because of this historic day, Juneteenth was unofficially incepted as a day of remembrance each June 19. 

On June 17, 2021, President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law marking the day as a federal holiday.

Before it was established as a federal holiday, Juneteenth was yearly observed in the Valley since 1996, filled with remembrance and acknowledging the struggle and contributions from the black community. The day is full of celebrations, and focuses on educating, understanding, and appreciating all cultures.

The UTRGV Library recently accumulated available resources to the UTRGV community and beyond to help commemorate the national holiday.

Raquel Estrada, UTRGV Acquisitions and Collection Development Librarian, said she and fellow colleagues put together Lib Guides and downloadable scholarly posters, under ScholarWorks at UTRGV, listing books, films and special collections all relating to Juneteenth and African American history.

“I wanted to not only bring awareness to what is available at the library, but help spark conversations,” she said. “We picked a variety of resources. We picked different films. Some were juvenile books; some were novels, and some were of academic nature, depending on what the patron is interested in.”

Courtesy Photo: UTRGV Library
Courtesy Photo: UTRGV Library

The resources listed on the guides are a mixture of physical and digital copies available for interested patrons. The guides are an expansive collection of materials that get refreshed when new items are available, Estrada pointed out.

The digital poster collection for Juneteenth has already been downloaded more than a dozen times, including in areas outside the Valley such as Washington and Monaco.

Estrada said having these lists of topical resources online allows it to reach a broad external audience who can see the titles and search their local areas.

“Knowing these resources are available will help expand our minds and open ourselves to learning about these essential topics, in this case Juneteenth,” she said. “Even if you start with the basics, such as the juvenile material, read it and then on to the next title.”

The resources are readily available to patrons to benefit understanding the meaning of Juneteenth. The guide is like a digital walk-through history to help users understand the impacts the black community had in the Rio Grande Valley.

The list of accessible guides is below:

Lib Guide for Juneteenth

Juneteenth 2022 (Library Display Posters)

Rio Grande Valley History: Our African American Heritage Poster Exhibit 

Questions about the guides or the materials, contact Raquel Estrada at


The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) was created by the Texas Legislature in 2013 as the first major public university of the 21st century in Texas. This transformative initiative provided the opportunity to expand educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley, including a new School of Medicine, and made it possible for residents of the region to benefit from the Permanent University Fund – a public endowment contributing support to the University of Texas System and other institutions.

UTRGV has campuses and off-campus research and teaching sites throughout the Rio Grande Valley including in Boca Chica Beach, Brownsville (formerly The University of Texas at Brownsville campus), Edinburg (formerly The University of Texas-Pan American campus), Harlingen, McAllen, Port Isabel, Rio Grande City, and South Padre Island. UTRGV, a comprehensive academic institution, enrolled its first class in the fall of 2015, and the School of Medicine welcomed its first class in the summer of 2016.