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Chicago Commemorates Juneteenth With Events Around City And Beyond

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Events are under way this week throughout Chicago and beyond to honor Juneteenth.

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.

Virtual panel discussions on issues important to the Black community have been under way since Monday – with a focus on culture Monday, justice and criminal justice reform on Tuesday, and education on Wednesday.

On Thursday, there will be a health fair at Malcolm X College at 1900 W. Jackson Blvd. on the Near West Side, and on Friday, there will be a Black culture caravan, also at Malcolm X.

More information on these events is available at

Meanwhile, the DuSable Museum of African American History, at 740 E. 56th Pl. in Washington Park, will be reopening with a gala celebration on Juneteenth this Saturday – after being closed for more than a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The event includes free museum admission on Saturday, June 19, and for the rest of the month. The museum is also beginning a new event series featuring outdoor entertainment such as jazz, dance, and comedy.

At Oak Woods Cemetery, at 1035 E. 67th St. in Greater Grand Crossing, the Chicago Architecture Center on Saturday will present a special tour honoring Black Chicagoans who played major roles in the Civil War.

Also Saturday, bicyclists will gather at noon at Wintrust Arena, 200 E. Cermak Rd., for a Bronzeville Freedom Ride. The tour will explore historic Bronzeville, the South Side community known as Chicago's Black Metropolis. A portion of ride proceeds will benefit the organization My Block, My Hood, My City.

A special Juneteenth event titled "The Black Girlhood Altar: Healing Sanctuary" is also planned for the Weinberg/Newton Gallery, 688 N. Milwaukee Ave. A temporary monument to missing and murdered Black girls will be mounted in the gallery courtyard.

Beverly and Morgan Park will host a Juneteenth Family Festival and Black business crawl at 110th Place and Longwood Drive from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday. It will include storytelling, drumming circles, African-based art, culture, food, music, and kid-friendly activities.

And on Friday and Saturday, more than 95 Black-owned restaurants in Chicago will offer food specials for $6.19 or $16.19 in an event organized by Black People Eats.

For more local events, go to the Choose Chicago city tourism website.

In the south suburbs, Governors State University in University Park is honoring Juneteenth with an outdoor promenade showcasing sculptures reflecting African American legacies, freedoms, and achievements at the Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park. The Saturday event will also feature a drumming circle performance by artist and composer Ernest Dawkins and singer and guitarist Alan Franklin, as well as spoken-word and poetry performances.

This is the first year that Juneteenth will be a paid Cook County holiday.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot this week also announced support for making Juneteenth an official Chicago city holiday beginning next year.

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