MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers issued a proclamation declaring June 19th as Juneteenth Day throughout the state of Wisconsin.  Juneteenth commemorates the day, in 1865, where the last slaves were informed of their freedom, effectively ending slavery in the United States.

“Juneteenth is recognized throughout the United States and Wisconsin is proud to be a part of this important day,” Gov. Evers said. “This is a time to recognize the struggles of African Americans in our country’s modern history. While we use this time to reconcile with our past, we must also continue to make progress by moving forward in solidarity and strength.”

Juneteenth is recognized as the day Union Army Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas to declare the end of slavery. Although the Emancipation Proclamation was issued by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863, slavery was still an active practice in Texas and other Confederate states because of the lack of Union soldiers to enforce the proclamation.

Gov. Evers and Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes will attend Milwaukee’s 48th annual Juneteenth Day Festival opening ceremony Wednesday, June 19th starting at noon at the main stage on the intersection of North Martin Luther King Drive and West Locust Street. The ceremony will include the presentation of a certificate of commendation from Gov. Evers to MacArthur Weddle, executive director of Northcott Neighborhood House, for his 40 years of service to the Milwaukee community.

The Juneteenth Day Festival will include state agency booths from the Department of Children and Families, Natural Resources, Workforce Development, Financial Institutions, Veterans Affairs, and Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. The festival is free and open to the public.

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