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An off day: New holiday closes only some offices

Some offices will be closed Monday in observance of a newly designed federal holiday, Juneteenth.

Banks, post offices, and district court offices will take the day off, but most other offices — including city offices and the rest of the courthouse — will remain open.

The holiday commemorates the freeing of slaves in Galveston, Texas, with the arrival of Union forces on June 19, 1865, two months after the end of the Civil War.

Because June 19 occurs on a Sunday this year, the holiday is being celebrated on a Monday.

Abraham Lincoln issued the emancipation proclamation, freeing slaves held in rebellious states, on Jan. 1, 1863. However, it did not take effect until Union forces arrived in those areas.

Upon his arrival in Galveston after the Confederacy’s surrender, a Union general read a statement freeing more than 250,000 slaves in Texas. Juneteenth has been celebrated informally since then.

Last year, Congress declared it an official federal holiday.Post offices and banks automatically are observing the day this year. Except for district court, most state and local offices are not.

Chief Judge Ben Sexton signed an order March 3 recognizing the federal holiday.

“Juneteenth celebrates the event of freedom,” his order states, “and further serves as an occasion to promote the advancement of unity, equality and justice for all citizens and recognizes the significance of freedom for all.”

Last modified June 15, 2022

 

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