Juneteenth- also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee
Day, Liberation Day, or Emancipation Day - is a holiday celebrating
the emancipation of those who had been enslaved in the United
States. The holiday stems from Texas, commemorating the day that
Union Army General Gordon Granger gave federal orders in Galveston,
Texas, proclaiming that all slaves in Texas were free. This was
nearly two-and-half years after the Emancipation Proclamation.
At the beginning of the night, people were invited to speak to the
crowd. Various speakers talked about the importance of being
anti-racist, of working towards a more diverse and inclusive
community, and of plans for the future to work with city and county
officials to bring more voices into existing places of power. People
sang songs, and children read poetry by Langston Hughes and essays
surrounding important African-American figures.
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A number of small, African-American owned businesses
from around central Illinois set up tables. A few people brought
grills and shared food.
But beyond all of that, it was a night for celebration, and several
speakers mentioned how wonderful it was to see such a diverse crowd
come together to celebrate this occasion.
This first-time Lincoln event is expected to become an annual