Watch CBS News

Beverly-Morgan Park To Host First Juneteenth Festival, But Organizer Says, 'There Are Some People Who Are Opposed To The Diversity'

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A bill recognizing June 19, or Juneteenth, as a federal holiday, was headed to President Joe Biden's desk Wednesday night.

Juneteenth marks the anniversary of June 19, 1865, the day Union troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, with the news that the Civil War had ended and slavery had been abolished, freeing the last of the slaves still being held in the Confederacy, more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation.

As Chicagoland prepares to mark the day, CBS 2's Jermont Terry found for some, the task is getting everyone to embrace it.

Preparations were under way Wednesday night for the Beverly/Morgan Park Juneteenth Family Festival, planned for 110th Place and Longwood Drive.

"Drive up and down 111th, you're going to see red, green, and black decorations on trees and poles - which is representative of the Pan-African flag," said Shayna Gray.

Gray is helping organize the event on Saturday. It is an event she said is long overdue for the Beverly/Morgan Park neighborhood.

"There was diversity, but all of the diversity in the neighborhood was not celebrated or recognized," Gray said.

This is the first time the Juneteenth events will be held along historic Longwood Drive - and while the day will commemorate a dark time in U.S. history, not everyone was pleased to hear about the Juneteenth festivities in Bohn Park.

"There are some people who are opposed to the diversity," Gray said.

Some are complaining about the fact that a Black business crawl is involved.

"There was some questioning of: 'Well, why are they having a Black business crawl? Why can't I have a white business crawl?' Or, 'why do they have to celebrate the ending of slavery and being African American?" Gray said.

Jenna Gorham added, "Have we really made huge strides as much as we think?"

Gorham is spearheading the support for the Black-owned businesses.

"We can say than we're in solidarity, but do you really show that in the way you spend your money?" Gorham said. "And so, I think that this business crawl is a way to for people to say that we support, yes, the movements when it comes to racial inequity, but also, we're investing so that these businesses stay in the neighborhood."

Area churches are pitching in to make sure the African American culture is celebrated.

"It's important that we're able to see that this is a long-lasting festival, not something that is just in response to what's happening in the climate of the world today," Gorham said.

Organizers emphasized that everyone in Beverly/Morgan Park and beyond is welcome to attend the festival.

More information on the Beverly/Morgan Park Juneteenth Family Festival is available at this link or in the flier below. For more Juneteenth events around the Chicago area, click here.

Beverly/Morgan Park Juneteenth Family Festival

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.