For visitors from outside of the United States, today is a new national holiday, Jueteenth.
From The Wall Street Journal:
Juneteenth is an annual holiday observing the end of slavery in the U.S. It marks the day (June 19, 1865) when news of emancipation reached people in the deepest parts of the former Confederacy in Galveston, Texas.
In 2021, it became the first new federal holiday created by Congress in nearly four decades. The bipartisan legislation was signed into law by President Biden on June 17, giving Juneteenth the same status as Memorial Day, Veterans Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day and other federal holidays.
Celebrated for decades through family gatherings and events such as parades and public readings of the Emancipation Proclamation, the holiday received more national attention in recent years—in particular after the global protests sparked in 2020 by the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and Rayshard Brooks, as well as a national conversation to rethink policing in America. Amid calls for racial equity, more companies, including Nike, Twitter and Spotify Technology, moved to observe the holiday.
. . . .
The holiday, also known as Emancipation Day, Black Independence Day or Jubilee Day, recognizes the date when news of emancipation finally reached Galveston, on June 19, 1865.
Nearly two months after the end of the Civil War, Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger, along with more than 1,800 federal troops, arrived to take control of the state, confirming the freedom of the last remaining slaves in the deepest parts of the South.
Although the Emancipation Proclamation—an executive order declaring that “all persons held as slaves” would be free—was signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863, and Gen. Robert E. Lee’s surrender in Appomattox, Va., marked the end of the Civil War in April 1865, news spread slowly and often met resistance from plantation owners.
The 13th Amendment, enshrining a ban on slavery into the Constitution, was ratified in December 1865. In pockets of the country, however, enslavement of African-Americans continued for several years.
. . . .
Juneteenth is the first federal holiday to be created by Congress since 1983, when lawmakers designated the third Monday in January as Martin Luther King Jr. Day, in honor of the slain civil-rights leader.
Texas was the first state, in 1980, to declare Juneteenth a holiday. All 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia, now acknowledge or observe Juneteenth, according to the Congressional Research Service.
. . . .
The new federal holiday took effect immediately. Because the first observance fell on Saturday, most federal employees were given off Friday, June 18, 2021.
Many states scrambled that year to give some of their public employees the day off, and employers from Goldman Sachs and Bank of America to Stanley Black & Decker were among the organizations around the U.S. that quickly rolled out new holiday policies for workers, with some allowing people to take Friday off with mere hours of notice. Some universities, like Ohio State, canceled classes.
. . . .
Stock markets, which close for many federal holidays, but not all, remained open on the first official federally recognized Juneteenth, but closed in 2022. The New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq will be closed on Monday in recognition of Juneteenth. Markets will reopen Tuesday.
Most banks will be closed, since the Federal Reserve observes Juneteenth as a holiday. The U.S. Postal Service will also close in observance of the holiday. Most stores, including grocery stores, gyms and other consumer-facing retailers, will be open.
. . . .
Hundreds of official events take place across the U.S. and the world in celebration of Juneteenth. When the announcement of freedom finally reached Galveston in 1865, newly liberated African-Americans celebrated with prayer, dance and community feasts. The earliest observances of the holiday presented an occasion to bring together family members and recognize Black freedom by reading passages from the Emancipation Proclamation and holding religious services.
After the Covid-19 pandemic limited festivities in 2020, major Juneteenth celebrations, parades and festivals were set for 2021.
Many cities and municipalities will hold Juneteenth events again this year. The Atlanta Parade & Music Festival runs from Friday to Sunday at the city’s Centennial Olympic Park. In Washington, D.C., the National Museum of African American History and Culture has planned presentations, stories and exhibitions highlighting issues and the cause for celebrations around the holiday.
Link to the rest at The Wall Street Journal