Central Illinois (WMBD) – “Juneteenth” is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States.
June 19, 1865, marked the day that Major General Gordon Granger and Union soldiers came to Galveston, Texas to share that the war had ended and that the enslaved had been freed. The news came more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, which became official January 1, 1863.
This weekend, there are a number of festivities taking place across central Illinois to recognize Juneteenth.
Friday, June 19
Juneteenth Celebration and Tailgate: The Peoria Peace and Nonviolence Leadership Institute is hosting a tailgate starting at noon. It will take place at the Riverplex in Peoria. Participants will march to Martin Luther King Park for a block party.
The block party will take place at Martin Luther King Park in Peoria from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Organizers say there will be food and drinks as well as a Black Business Expo. They’re encouraging you to bring the family.
Saturday, June 20
The Peoria Peace and Nonviolence Leadership Institute is also hosting a Juneteenth worship service at 10 a.m. at Martin Luther King Park in Peoria. There will also be a barbecue from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Enjoy Peoria is hosting a Juneteenth celebration at the Southside Community Center. It will begin at 10:30 a.m. with a block cleaning, followed by worship and prayer.
Virtual Juneteenth Celebration: The McLean County Museum of History and Bloomington Normal Black History Project is going virtual this year. There will be speakers, presentations and a moment of silence. The Zoom celebration will begin at 1 p.m.