Rock Island celebrates Juneteenth

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. (KWQC) - Dozens in Rock Island celebrated Juneteenth, the day slaves were freed 154 years ago.

Rock Island's NAACP held their first Juneteenth community celebration,
reflecting on the history of the United States and the Quad Cities - there was a regiment of black soldiers stationed in Rock Island.

"We recognize these men directly involved in that emancipation so they should always be honored, should always be remembered," said Shellie Mooreguy, a slave descendant.

The evening started with singing the African American national anthem from the 1800s.

"We stand on their shoulders today. It's a time of remembrance, it's a time of honor, it's a time of celebration" said Rev. Allen Schuler.

On display, a list of over 900 men who were involved in the civil war here in the Quad Cities.

The Rock Island Arsenal held Confederate soldiers, who Mooreguy says "were people that once perhaps held enslaved men like my grandfather. And here they were a part of this regiment going to fight for their own freedom. And that's why it's significant."

Shellie told attendees about the history of this group of black men and reminded them why it was so important to learn about, even 149 years later.

"All of us went to school, it was required we study history. The problem is we were never taught this history. We may have been taught slavery, but perhaps it was glossed over. Not the reasons why, how it directly affected descendants and I'm standing here as a descendent!" shared Mooreguy.

It was important to those attending that everybody, no matter your skin color, attend and remember this day.

Randall Flowers, Vice-President of Rock Island's NAACP said, "we need to bring the races together. it's important to bring the community together at these events for reconciliation."