FRAMINGHAM – In 2020, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed legislation making June 19th an official state holiday.
Juneteenth commemorates the emancipation of African Americans, to encourage residents to recognize the continued need to ensure freedom and equality.
As the holiday falls on a Saturday in 2021, the City of Framingham will observe the holiday on Friday, June 18, announced Mayor Yvonne Spicer today, June 8.
The Memorial Building will be closed on June 18.
“A little historical perspective, Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. This was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation – which had become official January 1, 1863. The holiday, also known as Emancipation Day, is a combination of the words “June” and “nineteenth. Juneteenth continues to be highly revered in Texas and across the country, with many descendants making an annual pilgrimage back to Galveston,” wrote Mayor Spicer to municipal employees.
“Juneteenth has focused on education and self-improvement and has widespread recognition within communities and organizations throughout the country, with the mission to promote and cultivate knowledge and appreciation of African American history and culture. Juneteenth today celebrates African American freedom and achievement, while encouraging continuous self-development and respect for all cultures,” wrote Mayor Spicer.
“One might want to take the opportunity of the observation of Juneteenth to learn about major firsts for African Americans, read a book by a Black author, catch a film that honors Black life, or support Black-owned companies. But most importantly, remember that all of those things should not just happen on Juneteenth, but also every day,” said the Mayor.