Juneteenth is now an official federal holiday

There are local Juneteenth Celebrations planned in Walton and Gwinnett County

On Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed legislation establishing Juneteenth National Independence Day a federal holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. The bill recognizes June 19, 1865, the day Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger led soldiers to Galveston, Texas, to let it be known that the Union had won the war and the ending of slavery would be enforced. President Joe Biden signed the bill into law on June 17, 2021.

There were 14 Republicans who voted against it, a primary objection being the use of the word Independence believing it would be confusing because of July 4th being the long-standing Independence Day. U.S. Rep. Jody Hice from Georgia’s 10th District, however, voted yes and said he was proud to do so.

“This holiday is an opportunity for us to reflect on our nation’s progress in making our founding principle ‘all men are created equal,’ a reality. Furthermore, it reminds us that we still have much work ahead to reach mutual harmony between all Americans,” Hice said in a newsletter. “When President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation to free the slaves, the country was still divided by the Civil War and the order could not be fully implemented as it had to be enforced as the Union Army advanced through the South. On June 19, 1865, Union forces landed in Galveston, Texas, with the news that the war had ended and that all African-Americans were now released from slavery.I look forward to joining Georgians in celebrating the first official Juneteenth federal holiday this weekend.”

There are Juneteenth celebrations planned at Friendship Park, Social Circle in Walton County and at Rhodes Jordan Park, Lawrenceville in Gwinnett County.

Celebrate Emancipation Day at a Juneteenth Festival in Social Circle on June 19

Gwinnett County Ebony Society to host Juneteenth Celebration at Rhodes Jordan Park

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