22News explains the history and meaning of Juneteenth

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(WWLP) – Earlier this week, Congress has passed a bill making Juneteenth a federal holiday and President Biden signed it into law, but not everyone is aware of the holiday’s history.

Juneteenth marks the end of slavery and commemorates the day on June 19, 1865 that a Union General told the last of the enslaved people that they were free, two years after the emancipation proclamation.

It was Union Major General Gordon Granger who rode into Galveston, Texas and announced the civil war had ended and all enslaved people were free. Now congress has passed the bill which would make Juneteenth the 11th federal holiday.

President Joe Biden signed a law Thursday which makes Juneteenth, or June 19, a federal holiday commemorating the end of slavery.

“It should’ve been a holiday and it was for some of us that knew about it and it needs to be in the history books. I didn’t learn about Juneteenth in Springfield public schools where I got my education, I did learn about Christopher Columbus.” Tracye Whitfield, Springfield City Council Vice President

Massachusetts passed a bill making Juneteenth a state holiday last year, making this year’s the first one celebrated state-wide. There will be a Juneteenth flag raising at Springfield City Hall Friday at 10 a.m. followed by a vendor fair and movie night at Blunt Park at 6 p.m.

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