The Springfield and Central Illinois African American History Museum will hold a special event on June 9 at 3 p.m. to explain the history of “Juneteenth.” The forum will be held at Representatives Hall in the Old State Capitol building.
Juneteenth is the annual celebration of the issuing of the Emancipation Proclamation by Abraham Lincoln. Large celebrations on June 19 began in 1866 and continued regularly into the early 20th century.
The forum will provide details about the resistance to the Emancipation Proclamation displayed by confederate states, while also providing background of the events that led to Union General Gordon Granger and 2,000 federal troops to arrive in Texas and enforce the emancipation of the slaves.
Panelists for the June 9 event include Kathryn Harris, director of library services in the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, Mike Williams, a sponsor of Springfield’s Juneteenth celebration and Angela Ward, an assistant professor of African American studies at the University of Illinois Springfield. Dick Hart, a board member of the Springfield and Central Illinois African American History Museum, will serve as moderator of the event.
Juneteenth has been celebrated annually in Springfield since 1993 with this year’s celebration being held on June 16 and 17 at Comer Cox Park. The two-day event will feature a parade, living history events, the Gus Macker Basketball Tournament, live bands and stage performers.