BOSTON (WWLP) – Sunday was Juneteenth, but many companies and businesses are acknowledging the holiday Monday.
Last year, Massachusetts recognized for the first time June 19th as Juneteenth Independence Day, a holiday celebrating the emancipation of black slaves in America.
Governor Deval Patrick, the state’s only Black Governor, signed a proclamation in 2007 recognizing Juneteenth in the state. However, it wasn’t until July 24th, 2020 when Governor Charlie Baker signed into law that June 19th would be celebrated as a state holiday. This was part of the $1.1 billion supplemental budget that covered some of the state’s COVID-19th spending.
Juneteenth is celebrated on June 19th because on that day in 1865, Union General Gordon Granger reached Galveston, Texas to deliver news to the final slaves of their emancipation. That day came more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation.
Unlike some of the other state holidays, businesses are not required to close for Juneteenth or give employees flexible time off.