“Our ancestors went through a lot. As a nation, as a collective, we’ve never really acknowledged the 246 years of slavery, and the depth of it, nor the trauma it caused. They endured hundreds of years of slavery, and then another hundred years of discrimination. I created Juneteenth 1865 to educate young individuals and all individuals to grasp that they sacrificed so that we’d have a better life.”
— Tommy Meeks, President of ICRG (Inner City Reconstruction Group) and Founder of Rockford Juneteenth
Governor JB Pritzker Signs Juneteenth Legislation with Tommy Meeks
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Juneteenth, also called Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, commemorates the end of slavery in the United States.
June 19, 1865 — more than two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves — Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, to enforce the proclamation.
Union leader Gordon Granger told over 250,000 enslaved people of Texas that they were free. It is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States.