Juneteenth, now observed as a federal holiday, marks the day in American history when the Emancipation Proclamation was enforced in Texas, freeing the last remaining enslaved persons in Galveston, effectively ending slavery in the United States, two years after its signing, on June 19, 1865. ABC7 takes viewers back in history with its half-hour special, “OUR CHICAGO: FREEDOM DAY,” Sunday, June 19, at 4:30 p.m. on ABC7 Chicago. Hosted by Emmy® Award-winning anchors/reporters Cheryl Burton and Terrell Brown, the special will also be available on abc7chicago.com and ABC7’s Connected TV Apps on Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV and Roku.
“ABC7 is proud to commemorate the Juneteenth holiday with special programming that will provide historical context, insight into the events of that day and community figures who worked diligently over the years to make Juneteenth a federal holiday,” said John Idler, president and general manager, ABC7 Chicago.
“OUR CHICAGO: FREEDOM DAY” explores what Juneteenth means to the country and what Chicagoans and the state of Illinois are doing to commemorate it. Cheryl Burton and Terrell Brown take viewers on a walk through history—featuring historians and important Galveston landmarks to paint a picture of what transpired on that pivotal June day in 1865. Brown travels to Galveston to talk to historian Sam Collins about how this momentous event changed the course of history in the nation. He also visits Reedy Chapel and Union headquarters to highlight their relevance to the day slaves were set free. Cheryl Burton explores one Chicagoan’s quest to make Juneteenth a paid holiday in the city when she sits down with Torrence Gardner, the person who wrote the bill and helped spearhead that effort with Chicago’s Juneteenth Planning Coalition.
During the special, Chicagoans and other key figures who played a role in Juneteenth’s ascendance to local and national prominence shared their perspective, including Opal Lee the “Grandmother of Juneteenth,” who fought to make this day a federal holiday; David Peterson from Chicago’s Pullman Museum, who describes various community celebrations and efforts to keep the celebrations authentic; and LaCreshia Birts, community organizer and co-chair of Chicago’s Juneteenth Planning Coalition, who offers a glimpse of some of the notable celebrations taking place in Chicago.