Statesboro City Hall and other city administrative offices are closed Friday, June 18, in observance of Juneteenth because the mayor and council acted a year ago to make this an ongoing city holiday.
As it turns out, when Statesboro City Council voted to that effect on June 16, 2020, the city got a one-year jump on the federal government in recognizing this holiday. President Joseph R. Biden on Thursday signed legislation, passed by Congress, making Juneteenth a federal holiday.
Juneteenth commemorates the end of slavery and is also known as Emancipation Day, Jubilee Day and Juneteenth Independence Day. Its name stems from June 19, 1865, when U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger in Galveston, Texas, issued General Order No. 3, which announced that in accordance with the Emancipation Proclamation, “all slaves are free.”
Months later, the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, abolishing slavery in the final three border states that had not been subjected to President Abraham Lincoln’s order.
The law goes into effect immediately, making Friday the first federal Juneteenth holiday in American history. The federal Office of Personnel Management announced Thursday that most federal employees would observe it on Friday, since June 19 falls on a Saturday this year.
But the post office and area banks will be open Friday.
The city of Statesboro’s ordinance did not create the local holiday for city employees immediately last year but made this Friday the city’s first Juneteenth holiday one year in advance. Of course, police and firefighters will be working as some are every holiday, but Statesboro Fire Department and Police Department nonessential offices will be closed, said city Public Information Officer Layne Phillips.