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Today is Juneteenth

Schools, banks, the stock exchange, post office and some businesses are closed to honor the Juneteenth federal holiday.

President Joseph R Biden (D) signed legislation three years ago making Juneteenth, or June 19, our newest federal holiday. Juneteenth commemorates the day in 1865 finally found out that the War Between the States was over and that President Abraham Lincoln had ended slavery.

Juneteenth is not an official state holiday in Alabama, but Governor Kay Ivey (R) has authorized state employees to also take the day off so state offices and courthouses will also be closed.

On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas - two months after the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia had surrendered. That was also about 2 1/2 years after the Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves in the Southern states. Since Texas was not a major area of operations for the invading Union Army, Texas slaves had not been informed that they were free until the invasion of Texas in the closing days of the war. Slavery in the states that did not secede was not abolished until December 6, 1865 when the 13th Amendment was finally ratified.

Juneteenth is also known as Emancipation Day, Jubilee Day, Black Independence Day, and Juneteenth Independence Day.

The bill making Juneteenth a federal holiday passed unanimously in both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives and was signed into law by President Biden.

 

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