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Joy Harrington
1619 Freedom School

KWWL interviews program director Sheritta Stokes about the importance of celebrating Juneteenth


Waterloo, IA: The 1619 Freedom School launched its Liberation Library on Saturday, June 17 as part of Waterloo's weekend celebration of Juneteenth. Juneteenth, celebrated on June 19, is a commemoration of the day in 1865 when Union troops arrived in Galveston Bay, Texas to finally relay the message to enslaved African Americans that they had been freed two years earlier with the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. More than 250,000 African Americans embraced freedom by executive decree in what became known as Juneteenth or Freedom Day.


KWWL TV reporter David Warrington joined 1619 Freedom School director Sheritta Stokes to talk about celebrating Juneteenth and how the school, and other organizations in the Cedar Valley, are working to make the region a better place for its Black citizens.

You can view the segment here:

About 1619 Freedom School: The 1619 Freedom School is a free, community-based, after-school literacy program where students improve literacy skills and develop a love for reading through liberating instruction centered on 400 years of Black American history. The 1619 Freedom School combines intensive, fun, and uplifting literacy instruction through a custom-designed curriculum built by expert educators from Georgetown University's Program in Education, Inquiry, and Justice.

Parents interested in enrolling their children in the 1619 Freedom School can find the application form at

About the Liberation Library: The 1619 Freedom School's Liberation Library is a functioning, lending library for the Waterloo community. Our books center Black history, culture, stories, and characters. The library has books for all ages including picture books, chapter books, series, novels, and nonfiction titles, including popular titles for children and adults. It will be open on the first and third Saturdays of each month from 11 am - 1 pm.

Waterloo-Cedar Falls residents interested in borrowing books can find our registration form at

For more information, please visit the school’s website at

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