The history behind Juneteenth is that on June 19, 1865, the enslaved African-Americans in Galveston Texas were told they were free, though the proclamation had been signed two and a half years earlier by President Lincoln, long before the news reached these slaves. Confederate General Lee surrendered two months earlier and the civil war was already over. Union General Granger came to Galveston to inform the slaves that the war was over and that they were free.
Also known as Emancipation Day in some parts of the country, Juneteenth was proclaimed in Illinois in 2018 by then Governor Bruce Rauner to commemorate the emancipation of slaves in the US. It has been celebrated for decades and is the oldest known celebration commemorating the abolition of slavery. The holiday originated in Texas, where it is often celebrated with parades and parties, red foods like velvet cake, and some states honor this day as a paid holiday, the same way we celebrate Casimir Pulaski day in Illinois. The name of the holiday is a combination of the month of June and the Day 19th. It is also known as Junteenth Independence Day or Freedom Day.
Erin Rae is the Curriculum Coordinator at Lockport 91.