June 19th, 1865 – Galveston, Texas – The First Juneteenth
“The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.”
June 19th, 2013 – Rockford, Illinois
A celebration of culture and freedom tomorrow will be a culmination of local artists and citizens performing, networking, and expressing themselves through the use of music, spoken word, and dance. The event will host live performances and will also entail a Juneteenth Idol search from 1PM – 3PM, which will be hosted by Darcel Saunders and Quiet Storm. Food vendors, art vendors, and kids’ games will be available, as well as BBQ provided by Smokehouse Barbecue. Show up from 1:00PM – 8:30PM at the Sinnissippi Music Shell (1401 N. Second Street).
So what is Juneteenth?
According to a community article in the Washington Times, Juneteenth was originally created to remember the dates of June 18th-19th in 1865. This was the time that slaves in Galveston, Texas first found out that the Civil War had come to an end, and that they were declared free. The trouble did not stop there, however, for recently freed slaves.
Today, the most popular celebration of emancipation from slavery in the United States will have its own meaning in Rockford, where inequality, like everywhere else in the country, still exists and hits us everywhere we turn. Tomorrow we can discover a new way to bring people together. For the twenty-third time, the Juneteenth celebration will be held in Rockford. Come out and support not just the artists, but support yourselves by sitting together as a Rockford people.