June 19 is Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day. It is the most widely recognized African American celebration of emancipation from slavery. This blending of the day and month marks when Union troops arrived in Galveston, Texas on June 19, 1865, and informed the last enslaved people in Texas that the civil war had ended two months earlier and slavery had been abolished with the Emancipation Proclamation that went into effect more than two years earlier.
Going forward, Juneteenth will be celebrated in Illinois as Juneteenth National Freedom Day, a state holiday, and nationally as Juneteenth National Independence Day, a federal holiday. Juneteenth is the first new federal holiday since Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was established in 1983.