The Village of Oak Park | 123 Madison St.  Oak Park, IL 60302 |

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Village celebrates Juneteenth

June 5, 2021 – The Village hosted an outdoor ceremony celebrating Juneteenth at 10 a.m., Sat., June 5, by Village Hall, 123 Madison St.

A special flag-raising ceremony, speeches about the history of Juneteenth and live music were held by the flagpoles on the north side of Village Hall by Madison Street – click here to see the event program.

With public health officials still cautious about large gatherings as the threat of COVID-19 continues, social distancing guidelines were observed.

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

A similar resolution is scheduled to come before the Village Board at a meeting scheduled for Mon., June 7 – click here to read the Juneteenth proclamation.

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 since, Juneteenth has offered an opportunity celebrate freedom and equal rights in the United States. 

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