The Juneteenth—Freedom Day Festival on historic Woodstock Square on Saturday, June 17 from 3 to 5:30 pm has announced a full program for the celebration of the date for the remaining 250,000 enslaved people in Galveston, Texas first heard news of Emancipation. The commemoration of that event has spread from Texas and now is observed nationally as a day of Jubilee and freedom. The event in Woodstock represents the first ever such celebration in McHenry County.
Kenneth Davis, Chicago bluesman of the Ken Davis Group, has been added to the Festival line up.
The program will include an invocation and a benediction by the Rev. Norval Brown of the Cary United Methodist Church; vocalist Darlene Benton; Chicago bluesman Kenneth Davis of the Ken Davis Project; a featured address by McHenry County College top honor student and young entrepreneur Rodney Katushabe; the reading of the order issued by Major General Gordon Granger on June 19, 1865, proclaiming freedom for slaves in Texas by Patrick Murfin, of the Tree of Life Unitarian Universalist Congregation’s Social Justice Team; a short history presentation on the Underground Railroad by McHenry County Board Members Gloria Van Hof and Pam Althoff; a children’s book reading by Arlene Lynes of Read Between the Lynes Bookstore; and observations by County Board Member and long-time activist Lou Ness.
Formally enslaved persons in Galveston, Texas listen to General Gordon Granger reading his order informing them that they have been emancipated on June 19, 1865.
The program will be hosted by Gloria Van Hof, who organized the festival with other active community members.
Three food trucks and an ice cream vendor will serve the festival and a number of businesses and community organizations will have booths on the Square.