1. On February 19, 1861, Springfield, Illinois was the site of Abraham Lincoln's farewell speech before he left for his presidential inauguration in Washington, D.C. Lincoln thanked his fellow citizens for their support and declared his commitment to preserving the Union.
2. In 1942, the U.S. government began forcibly relocating Japanese Americans to internment camps during World War II. Thousands of Japanese Americans from the West Coast were sent to live in 10 different camps across the country, including the one in Heart Mountain, Wyoming, which housed many people of Japanese ancestry from Illinois.
3. On February 19, 1955, Oprah Winfrey was born in Kosciusko, Mississippi. She spent much of her childhood living with her grandmother in Mississippi and later moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she began her media career. Winfrey eventually settled in Chicago, where she produced and hosted her own talk show from 1986 to 2011.
4. In 1960, the Chicago Blackhawks played their first game at the new Chicago Stadium. The stadium, which cost $16 million to build, was home to the Blackhawks from 1929 to 1994 and was also used for other sporting events, concerts, and political rallies over the years.
5. On February 19, 2014, former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich began serving a 14-year sentence for corruption charges. Blagojevich, who was impeached and removed from office in 2009, was convicted of multiple counts of wire fraud, attempted extortion, and bribery. He served eight years in federal prison before being released in 2020 by President Donald Trump.
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