Come Juneteenth

Come Juneteenth

by Ann Rinaldi

Paperback(First Edition)

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Sis Goose is a beloved member of Luli's family, despite the fact that she was born a slave. But the family is harboring a terrible secret. And when Union soldiers arrive on their Texas plantation to announce that slaves have been declared free for nearly two years, Sis Goose is horrified to learn that the people she called family have lied to her for so long. She runs away--but her newly found freedom has tragic consequences.

How could the state of Texas keep the news of the Emancipation Proclamation from reaching slaves? In this riveting Great Episodes historical drama, Ann Rinaldi sheds light on the events that led to the creation of Juneteenth, a celebration of freedom that continues today.
Includes an author's note.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780152063924
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 05/04/2009
Series: Great Episodes Series
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 512,413
Product dimensions: 4.20(w) x 6.80(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

ANN RINALDI is an award-winning author best known for her ability to bring history vividly to life. She lives in central New Jersey.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One
I was in the pumpkin patch, counting the ones that were good enough for Old Pepper Apron, our cook, to make into bread. I recollect that Pa was happy that he’d gotten one or two cents more on the pound from the cotton Granville had shipped out of Bagdad. And that the fields were being sown with winter oats and rye.
I looked up and saw Sis Goose standing by the gate, a frown on her lovely face. It was all like some Dutch still life I was learning about from my tutor. Sis twisted her apron in her hands. She always wore a snow-white apron, like I did, even though we had no real household chores.
“Luli, there’s an old negro man in our barn,” she said.
For a moment I did not understand. The place was full of negro men: field hands, household help. But the look on her face told me something was amiss.
“Who is he?”
“Says he comes from Virginny. Says . . .” and her voice broke.
“Says what?”
“Says the negroes are free. That Abraham Lincoln freed them in January of ’63.”
That rumor again. But with the war there was a different rumor every week. I swallowed. Something on Sis Goose’s face bespoke her distress.
“Go and get Gabe,” I told her. “He’ll know what to do.”
Gabe was in the house, helping Mama decide whether the one hundred bushels of corn she wanted to trade for three pounds of sugar was worth it.
I went to the horse barn, but I didn’t go in until Gabe and Sis Goose came back. “Where’d you come from, Uncle?” Gabe asked the man, who looked old enough to be somebody’s grandfather.
“Virginny. I comes from Virginny,” came the answer. “From Applegate I come. On the advice of Miz Heather.”
Applegate was my Virginia grandmother’s plantation.
Gabe scowled and ran his hands over the back of the man’s mule. It had usa branded on its back. “This is a fine-looking animal. Where’d you get it?”
“Miz Heather give it to me. And say to come here. She give me a message for y’all.”
“What message?” from Gabe.
“She say that no matter what, I shud tell y’all that Mister Linkum done freed the slaves nigh over a year ago now.”
“Did she now?” Gabe’s voice was tight, forced in its casualness. “Well, to my knowledge my grandmother never had a mule with usa branded on its back. This mule is government property,” Gabe told him.
“I came from Virginny,” the old man insisted. “Miz Heather, she tell me . . .”
“Yes, yes, I know, that Mr. Lincoln freed the slaves. I’ll tell you what, Uncle—” Then Gabe stopped and looked at us. “Go on into the house,” he directed us. “Tell no one about this. I’ll handle it.”
We obeyed. I said nothing to Sis Goose about it. But she did to me. “Do you think he’s right?” she asked.
“I don’t know. I mean, we would have heard. If not us, then Gabe or Granville. I’m sure we would have heard.”
And so I lied to my best friend, my sister, who trusted me. Because I had heard of this before. But both Gabe and Granville had ordered me not to speak of it.
ont-family: 'Times New Roman'" The slaves free! I could not think on it all at once. It assaulted my spirit. It gave lie to everything I knew in my life.
All Pa’s people in the fields could put down their hoes and walk off if they wanted to. We’d never have another corn or cotton crop. The sweet potatoes and white potatoes and vegetables needing dirt banks to keep them safe from the winter would all be ruined. No more corn shuckings with banjo playing and cider. No one to repair the fences, see to the livestock. In the house, no one to keep Mama’s Chippendale furniture free of dust or polish the silver or make the beds. Who would do the laundry?
My mind gave way to hopelessness. And then I remembered what Granville had said the last time a man came to the barn like this. In June of ’63, it had been, right before Gettysburg.
“You breathe a word of this and you’ll start bloodshed in Texas,” he warned me.
Granville liked to make dramatic statements like that.
“I could be free.” Sis Goose stopped walking and looked at me. The news had come over her the same way.
“And what would you do?” I asked casually.
She lowered her eyes. Then looked at me almost flirtatiously. “I’d marry Gabe.”
No, I couldn’t take this, too. I drew in my breath. I’d noticed of late the way he served her at the table before he served himself. How he gave her the best cuts of meat. How he held out her chair. Was he just being a Southern gentleman?
He didn’t do all that for me. With me he was brusque, moody. Gentle but sealed off. Fool, I told myself. You should have seen it.
“Has he asked you?” I pushed.
“Yes. But I can’t, unless I’m free. I told him yes, at the end of the war. He wants to marry now. Because he says then Aunt Sophie can’t sell me. I’d be his wife. But I don’t want to be like my mama, the colored wench of a white man.”
She spoke fast. And I thought fast. I entered into a covenant with myself then, a promise to lie, even if it killed me. “Well, it’s just a rumor. I’m sorry, Sis Goose. My brothers and my pa would know if it were true.”
She accepted that. “You’d never lie to me,” she said. “Remember, we’re sisters.”

Copyright © 2007 by Ann Rinaldi

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

Requests for permission to make copies of any part of the work should be submitted online at or mailed to the following address: Permissions Department, Harcourt, Inc., 6277 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, Florida 32887-6777.

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From the Publisher

"Believable characters with human strengths and weaknesses, lively writing, and plenty of action and suspense make this book a real page-turner for lovers of historical fiction."—School Library Journal 

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Come Juneteenth 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Come Juneteenth is about two girls, Luli and Sis Goose, and the trouble they get into. Luli is a very hard-headed girl. While, Sis Goose is very shy. Even though Sis Goose was adopted they act like sisters. They like to do the same things and do everything together. Then, Luli's whole world turns upside down when Luli's brother Gabe falls in love with Sis Goose. Now Luli is all alone while Gabe and Sis Goose spend every minute together. When Sis Goose was born her mother died shortly after her birth and her dad couldn't take care of her. Aunt Sophie adopted Sis Goose but asked Ma to take care of her until she could settle down. Since she traveled so much she never actually "settle down" so Sis Goose spent her whole life with Luli and her family. When the Civil War ends the Confederate soldiers come and take over the plantation. Luli's family moves into the log cabin, everybody except for Sis Goose. The colonel, Heffernan, makes her stay in the big house and be his handmaid. One night Luli shoots Heffernan for being so rude to Sis Goose. So, Heffernan takes Sis Goose and they run away to a boardinghouse. Gabe and Luli follow them until they settle into their room. Gabe finds out that Sis Goose is expecting his child. The end of this book makes you stay on the edge of your seat. This book is very suspensful and teaches you the value of friendship. The beginning was boring but got better as the plot went on. This book is full of surprising twists and turns. It really keeps you on the edge of your seat. I really recommend this book.
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straightAs More than 1 year ago
This is one of my all-time favorites! It is really touching. I became really attatched to the characters. The first time I read the book, I had borrowed it from the library. I read it more than a year and a half ago, but I still recall it quite clearly. I just purchased it from and am waiting eagerly for its arrival. This book is truly memorable and emotional. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves a good, memorable book. I can't wait to read even more of Ann Rinaldi's books!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoy all of rinaldis work i think shes outstanding
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had to read this for 7th grade summer reading and it wasntthe best book at all in the world! If you got to choose reading this or a different book - choose the other book because this wasn't good at all!! No offense!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought that this was a very good book. Anyone that likes books about slavery, or anything that has a good story line then I think that they should read this.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This story is rather different form others of its sort. I enjoyed dispite the sad times that the family has. This is a book worth taking the time to read.
Chelsea Mina More than 1 year ago
This book is the best book I ever read. I was soooooooo sad when I finished the book.
Viviana Serpa More than 1 year ago
This book was very good and now i am hooked on Ann Rinaldi!!!!!!!!!!!!!