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Oak Park officially observes Juneteenth

June 18, 2020 - Juneteenth has long been recognized as an important day among many Oak Parkers, and the Village Board made it official Monday when it voted unamiously to support a proclamation to formally observe the holiday every June 19.

Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when a U.S. Army general read orders in Galveston, Texas that all previously enslaved people were free.

Although the Emancipation Proclamation had formally freed them almost two and a half years earlier, and the American Civil War had largely ended with the defeat of the Confederate States in April, Texas was the most remote of the slave states, with a low presence of Union troops, so enforcement of the proclamation had been slow and inconsistent.

Through the years Juneteenth has offered an opportunity celebrate freedom and equal rights in the United States. 

Click here to read the Village Board's Juneteenth proclamation.

Learn more about Juneteenth in this 2003 segment from VOP-TV in which Community Relations Director provides background about the holiday: