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Commemorating Juneteenth

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Today is Juneteenth. The holiday honors African-Americans in Texas who learned on June 19, 1865 they were no longer slaves, two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation.

Chicago historian Timuel Black says the holiday has grown in popularity in recent years, but says African-Americans today unite under a different kind of persecution.

“So the present day events that we hear of, read about, of torture and tyranny and all that. We’ve experienced that already. And so it’s a recall. It’s not a bitterness, necessarily, but a recall of a history of a people who were the most oppressed and continue to be the most oppressed people in the history of the world,” he says.

Black says Juneteenth is about feeling a sense of victory over the past.

Illinois declared the day a holiday in 2004.

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