CENTRAL ILLINOIS–Wednesday, the nation commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. 

June 19 is considered “Juneteenth”. On this day in 1865, Major General Gordon Granger announced the end of the Civil War in Galveston, Texas, making all slaves free. The war had already been over for weeks, but news traveled slowly back then. There are festivals and events planned around the country, including central Illinois, in honor of the day. 

Saturday, June 22, 2019:

Major Taylor Juneteenth Bike Ride  Black Girls Do Bike-Peoria and Bike Peoria will host the event at Martin Luther King Jr. Park in Peoria (825 McBean St.). Riders can choose their route of 15, 25, 45+ miles. The riders for the 25 and 45+ miles are asked to start by 8:30 a.m. Food will be provided at rest stops. The event is free.

Family Reunion Juneteenth Celebration The NAACP Peoria Branch hosts the celebration focused on the health and economic welfare of the African-American family with a family reunion atmosphere. Food, games, fun and music will be provided. Information from health institutions, educational institutions, community-based organizations, and local employers will also be available. The free event will be from noon – 5 p.m. at Martin Luther King Jr. Park in Peoria (825 McBean St.).

Stop the Violence Juneteenth Celebration The Taft Community Foundation and Dream Builders will host the event featuring educational history on Juneteenth, community resources, food vendors, a bouncy house, flag football and music. It will take place from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. at Glen Oak School in Peoria (2100 N. Wisconsin Ave.).

Juneteenth Celebration The Bloomington-Normal Black History Project and McLean County History Museum will host the event. They will provide music, information, and fun activities for the entire family at 1615 Illinois St. in Bloomington. It will take place from 11:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.