ST. LOUIS – Government offices are closed Friday for the first time in history to celebrate the brand new U.S. holiday Juneteenth.
Juneteenth and its meaning began to gain more attention during protests and unrest in summer 2020 in relation to the killing of George Floyd.
The City of St. Louis and St. Louis County made moves to recognize the day and host several celebrations in honor of Juneteenth. There are several Juneteenth celebrations across the St. Louis area starting today. Click here for a full list of Juneteenth events in the area.
Now President Joe Biden has signed the bill into law making Juneteenth a national holiday. He said it was one of the greatest honors he believes he will have as president.
Juneteenth commemorates the date when the last slaves learned they were free on June 19, 1865 in Galveston, Texas. This was nearly two years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.
“Great nations don’t ignore their most painful moments. They don’t ignore those moments in the past. They embrace them,” Biden said.