Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863, The proclamation declared "that all persons held as slaves" within the rebellious states "are, and henceforward shall be free." It came as the nation was about to enter its third year of the Civil War. Fast forward, for lack of a better term, to Texas in 1865. In fact, it was June 19, 1865 when General Gordon Granger of the Union Army arrived on Galveston Island.
He said: "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 personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor." And with that comes a day of celebration called Juneteenth. Here, in the Sauk Valley, there will be such a
celebration. It will take place on Saturday, June 18 from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Propheter Park in Sterling, Illinois. According to the YWCA of the Sauk Valley, this is a "CommUNITY Freedom Festival." The YWCA Juneteenth is a cultural expo featuring live performances... children’s activities, a barbecue and refreshments, storytelling, local vendors and artisans, a basketball tournament and much more. One must also remember this is an all inclusive event. It is noted that, "This Independence Day is celebrated all over the United States by people of all races, ethnicities, nationalities and religions. It is family event and is open to the public. All proceeds from the event will support
the YWCA. For more information, call (815) 625-0333.