Annual Juneteenth celebration commemorates end of slavery

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- On this date each year, Juneteenth is celebrated, commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. One local committee holds a celebration each year and now is hosting the celebration for the 29th year.

This event, presented by the Juneteenth Celebration Committee and the Rockford Park District, gets its origins from an important day 154 years ago.

Dating back to 1865, it was June 19th that the Union soldiers landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the Civil War ended and the slaves were freed.

The Juneteenth Celebration Committee celebrates this holiday each year and says this event is a great learning experience for the public to gain more insight on this important day,

Tommy Meeks says, "We try to stress the learning of Juneteenth, it's in the literature we have during the course of the evening. But want all ethnic groups to come out and realize, especially for African Americans to realize the opportunities African Americans have today, compared to our ancestors."

This ending of slavery took place exactly two and a half years to the day after President Abraham Lincoln gave his Emancipation Proclamation, which became official on January 1, 1863, making slavery illegal in the United States.