The first ever McHenry County celebration of Juneteenth will be held on historic Woodstock Square on Saturday, June 17 from 3 to 5:30 pm. Juneteenth—Freedom Day is organized by Gloria Van Hof, a McHenry County Board member, noted Underground Railroad historian, and long-time activist along with other community leaders.
Gloria Van Hof, founder and host of Junteenth--Freedom day, McHenry County's first celebration of the event.
Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, the date when slaves in Galveston, Texas, who had been cut off from news of the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 when the Union took control of the length of the Mississippi River, first heard that they had been freed from an order read by the Union general who arrived with troops to take control of the port. It became an annual festival in cities and towns across Texas in the post-Civil War Era. In this century observations have spread across the United States as a Jubilee Day of liberation.
Major programs are held in Chicago, Lake County, Elgin, Rockford and elsewhere in the region.
The program will feature speakers, musical performances, and readings with food trucks, vendors, and fun family activities on the Square.
Juneteenth—Freedom Day is free and open to the public.