We are proud to host the Frederick Douglass exhibit from Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. This national traveling exhibit uses reproductions of period artifacts to examine slavery and abolition through the life of one of the most famous men in 19th century America, Frederick Douglass. This exhibit also serves as a remembrance of Juneteenth, the oldest known celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. Explore a digital overview of the exhibit.

The exhibit is located on the 2nd floor near the Vortex, now through Monday, July 8.

Check out these great titles selected for this exhibit:


Bolingbrook Juneteenth Celebration

Saturday, June 22, noon–4 p.m.
Bolingbrook Performing Arts Center, 375 W. Briarcliff Road

Visit the Bookmobile at Bolingbrook’s Juneteenth celebration. While you enjoy the festivities, stop by to sign up for Summer Adventure, check out books, movies and more, get a new library card, renew your account or return your borrowed materials. Learn more about the Bolingbrook Juneteenth celebration.

Who was Frederick Douglass?

A prolific writer, orator, abolitionist, social reformer and statesman, Frederick Douglass made a career of agitating the American conscience. He spoke and wrote on behalf of a variety of reform causes: women’s rights, temperance, peace, land reform, free public education and the abolition of capital punishment. But he devoted the bulk of his time, immense talent and boundless energy to ending slavery and gaining equal rights for African Americans.

Born a slave in Maryland, Douglass made a daring escape to New York City in 1838. Once free, Douglass fought to end slavery and championed civil rights for all Americans. Among the exhibit’s highlights are a broadside entitled Slave Market of America from the American Anti-Slavery Society and excerpts and quotes from Douglass’s first autobiography Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave.

What is Juneteenth?

The original celebration commemorating the end of slavery on June 19, 1865 was coined “Juneteenth” and grew with more participation from descendants. In the years following the Civil War, Juneteenth celebrations were a time for reassuring each other, prayer and gathering remaining family members. Juneteenth continued to be highly revered in Texas decades later, with many former slaves and descendants making an annual pilgrimage back to Galveston on this date.

Modern Juneteenth celebrations focus on African American freedom and achievement, while encouraging continuous self-development and respect for all cultures. The holiday is enjoying a surge in popularity within communities and organizations throughout the country. In recent years, a number of local and national Juneteenth organizations have arisen to promote and cultivate knowledge and appreciation of African American history and culture.