For the past year, Springfield historian Mark Flotow has been doing newspaper transcription work about Springfield during the Civil War era. He found a gem from the Illinois State Journal, dated July 6, 1866, that noted celebration of July 4 by the city's Black residents: "Feeling that they also now have an interest in the fourth of July, [Black residents] celebrated the day with considerable spirit by a general pic-nic at the lake near Camp Butler. Several hundred men, women and children participated, most of them going out by the Great Western [railroad] cars. Roger's Brass Band, the members of which have already made commendable proficiency, was present and furnished the music for the occasion. Altogether they report that the day was very pleasantly spent." Flotow comments: "The phrase 'now have an interest' is key. For some of us, it puts the Juneteenth holiday in a sharper perspective." –Fletcher Farrar, editor and CEO

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