In celebration of Juneteenth, writer and Wellesley resident Je’Lesia Jones and librarian Quincy Knapp, in partnership with the Wellesley Free Library, have created laminated bookmarks to educate the public about the recently enacted federal holiday.
After Jones got approval for the project from the WFL administration earlier this year she and Knapp, a WFL children’s librarian, got to work. To provide graphic interest for the bookmarks Jones said, “We researched African fabrics, i.e., Kente Cloth, a Ghanaian textile made of strips of cotton and silk, all handwoven cloth, and that led to lots of other textiles, fabrics and designs, including architecture. Some of the backgrounds are African architecture. Those creations make up the backgrounds for the bookmarks.”
The front of each bookmark showcases one of 40 inspirational quotes from Black movers and shakers. “I chose the quotes, wanting to represent the array of Black thought ranging from doctors, musicians, historians, scholars, etc.,” Jones said. “Frankly, I was inspired by Amanda Gorman, the gifted young woman who delivered her poem, The Hill We Climb, at Biden’s inaugural. Her words so fittingly represent the joy of Juneteenth, and were the first chosen for the bookmarks.”
On the back of each bookmark is a short explanation of the day which reads, “Juneteenth is short for ‘June Nineteenth’ and marks the day when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, 1865, two years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, to take control of the state and ensure that all enslaved people be freed. Juneteenth honors the end of slavery.”
At the bottom of each bookmark a link provides a reading list of 101 books in honor of Juneteenth.
Jones says the bookmarks have been a huge hit. “Since most of the bookmarks have a different quote, patrons are asking if they can take more than one.”
To keep up with demand, she and Knapp had to do a second printing. The free bookmarks will be available through June at the Temporary Main Library in Wellesley Square; the Wellesley Hills branch; and the Wellesley Fells branch.
Just don’t try to pick one up for yourself on June 19th. The libraries are closed for the holiday.