Juneteenth, also called Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, and Liberation Day, is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States.
All town offices (excluding emergency services), will be unstaffed and no meetings will be scheduled on Friday, June 18, incommemoration of Juneteenth.
On June 19th, 1865, Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas, and read the people of Texas General Order Number 3, which began:
“The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired laborer.”
Although the Emancipation Proclamation had been issued on January 1, 1863, its effect was not felt until Union soldiers arrived to enforce it.
While Juneteenth has not been made a Federal holiday, it is a state holiday in Texas, and recognized in many other states.
In 2007, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts recognized Juneteenth:
“The governor shall annually issue a proclamation setting apart the nineteenth of June as Juneteenth Independence Day, to be observed on the Sunday that is closest to June 19th of each year, in recognition of June 19, 1865 when Union General Gordon Granger announced freedom for all slaves in the Southwestern United States and in recognition of the end of slavery in the United States as well as the significant contributions, individuals of African decent have made to the commonwealth and to the United States and recommending that said day be observed in an appropriate manner by the people.”