LOS ANGELES — If Juneteenth fails to ring a bell, the season debut episode of ABC’s “black-ish” should fix that.

With animation, musical numbers and help from The Roots and Aloe Blacc, the sitcom delves into the holiday that marks June 19, 1865, the date on which a Union Army general ordered laggard Texas to put a stop to slavery in the months after the Civil War’s end.

In the daring manner in which “black-ish” has tackled the casual use of the N-word, police shootings and other thorny issues, Tuesday’s episode at 9 p.m. EDT uses the holiday as a pivot point to debate what America honors of its past and what it sidelines.

Series creator and executive producer Kenya Barris admits he initially brushed off a fellow “black-ish” writer’s suggestion that the show address Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day and first celebrated in 1866.

Then one of Barris’ six children – who are a regular source of inspiration – schooled him on a historical figure that gets no lack of attention, the 15th-century Italian explorer Christopher Columbus.

“‘Dad, you know Columbus never set foot in North America?'” Barris recalled the preteen saying.

“I said, ‘I think you’re mistaken, son.’ Then I decided to look it up and found he was absolutely right.”

“It made me start thinking, ‘Why can we celebrate this guy, but when someone says Juneteenth it’s a laughable thing?'” Barris said.

“So often, myself and my friends don’t like to talk about slavery or Kwanzaa (December’s week-long African heritage festivities) or anything like that we celebrate ourselves,” he said, even belittling such holidays as “stupid.”

He’s come to believe such reluctance reflects deeper concern over non-black attitudes.

The “black-ish” episode is especially ambitious, starting with the animated segment in which The Roots and Blacc, who also guest stars as himself in the show, perform the song “I’m Just a Slave.”

– From news service reports