Juneteenth history commemorated in half-hour special 'Our Chicago: Black Freedom'

What is Juneteenth? Holiday marks day news of Emancipation Proclamation reached last slaves in Galveston, Texas

ByABC 7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Saturday, June 19, 2021
The History & Future of Juneteenth
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The History & Future of Juneteenth

CHICAGO (WLS) -- ABC 7 honors Juneteenth with "Our Chicago: Black Freedom."

Juneteenth marks the day news of the Emancipation Proclamation reached the last remaining slaves in Galveston, Texas - effectively ending slavery in the United States - two and a half years after its signing.

ABC 7 Eyewitness News Emmy Award-winning Anchor/Reporter Cheryl Burton hosts the special from the iconic DuSable Museum of African American History.

"Our Chicago: Black Freedom" explores the history of the momentous event that took place in Texas on June 19, 1865, "Juneteenth," ending the last vestiges of slavery. It further examines what Juneteenth means to our country and what Chicagoans and the state of Illinois are doing to commemorate it.

WATCH: Juneteenth: Impact on Businesses, Schools

Juneteenth: Impact on Businesses, Schools

The special is available on all of our digital platform including ABC 7's Connected TV Apps on Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV and Roku.

"This special commemoration gives our viewers a deeper understanding of the events that unfolded on Juneteenth and the tremendous impact it had on our history," said John Idler, president and general manager of ABC 7 Chicago. Members of the ABC 7 Eyewitness News team including Terrell Brown, Hosea Sanders, Karen Jordan, Leah Hope, Will Jones and Samantha Chatman contributed stories that showcase efforts to make Juneteenth an official state of Illinois holiday; suburban high school students who talk about how the next generation is embracing Juneteenth; school curriculums changing to incorporate Juneteenth history; Black-owned businesses finding Juneteenth business success; the meaningful symbols and colors of the Juneteenth flag and Juneteenth celebrations around Chicago that have been going strong for several years.

WATCH: Juneteenth Symbols & Celebrations

Juneteenth Symbols & Celebrations

The special's finale features Dr. Walt Whitman and the Soul Children of Chicago's inspirational performance of their new song, "Awake."

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About ABC7/WLS-TV Chicago:

ABC7/WLS-TV Chicago is the No. 1 local news source and most-watched television station in Chicago. With top-rated daily newscasts spanning decades and the largest social media presence in the market with more than 2.3 million Facebook followers, ABC7 Eyewitness News provides breaking news, investigative reporting, weather, politics, traffic and sports in the multiplatform space to Chicago, the suburbs and northwest Indiana. Named Best News Operation by the Associated Press for four consecutive years, the station produces 41 hours of local news weekly and Chicago's only local weekday entertainment talk show, "Windy City LIVE," as well as its highest-rated New Year's Eve special. ABC7's award-winning programs such as "Our Chicago" showcase the city's diversity, while being the only Chicago station producing and broadcasting parades representing Chicago's rich cultural history. In addition to producing town halls focused on current social issues, the station has a long and proud tradition of broadcasting political candidate debates keeping Chicago's electorate informed. ABC7's outreach efforts include annual partnerships with the Red Cross for life-saving blood drives and, most recently, spearheading an effort to raise more than $1.5 million for area food pantries.