It is Washington, DC, in the 1950s, and a race-baiting senator has just been shot on the Senate floor by a young black man. On his deathbed the senator calls out for a mysterious stranger, an elderly black Baptist minister from Georgia, who comes to his side. Their remarkable conversation and the memories it sparks take them back through the senator's life to the deeply buried secrets of their shared past, and finally to the tragic event that first brought them together. A jazz novel, a sermon, a song of praise to the richness of the African-American experience, a showcase for a writer of unsurpassed lyrical gifts, an autobiographical reckoning with Ellison's own life journey, Juneteenth is a major new American myth.
'Awaited more keenly perhaps than any other [novel] in American literary history.'