Ol Jim Crow Book Cover Photo.jpg

Ol’ Jim Crow’s Jubilee Day Caper

By J. Darnell Johnson

As a Baby Boomer growing up in south Minneapolis, I remember well the lack of information on Black history in the public schools. There may have been a little blurb about slavery in 6th grade, but that was about it. When it came to education outside of home, I learned far more about our history once I was in college than I ever did in elementary and high school. It is heartwarming to see children’s books that connect us with our culture today. That being said, I present to you J. Darnell Johnson’s voice in his children’s book Ol’ Jim Crow’s Jubilee Day Caper.

In this story, we go back to June 19, 1890, the 25th anniversary of Jubilee Day, what we now call Juneteenth. We have our dyed-in-the-wool villain, Ol’ Jim Crow. Ol’ Jim Crow hates Jubilee Day, and he has done his evil best over the years to destroy the spirit and culture of the now emancipated African American communities. His latest caper is another effort to steal our joy and put an end to Jubilee Day celebrations. How will the community foil this plan?

Johnson’s book represents the kind of books I wished were available when I was in elementary school. His descriptions, coupled with the amazing illustrations of Whimsical Designs by CJ, capture the essence and the spirit of the times to make the story engaging for young readers. Not only does he connect the history of Jubilee Day, but he also includes the history of its celebratory traditions.

A fellow native of south Minneapolis, Johnson is the Education Director of Evolve Family Services. Ol’ Jim Crow’s Jubilee Day Caper was the winner of the 2021 Planting People Growing Justice Social Justice Award, and it can be purchased through Amazon and the Planting People Growing Justice Press.

Thank you, J, for bringing your unique voice to the literary table and your vital role in changing the narrative for our children. Representation matters.

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