Governor declares Juneteenth a legal state holiday

Published 10:54 am Thursday, June 17, 2021

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On Wednesday, Gov. John Bel Edwards announced that in honor of Juneteenth becoming a legal holiday in the state of Louisiana, on Friday, June 18, all state offices would be closed for a half-day. Edwards signed HB 554 (Act 128) by Baton Rouge State Rep. Larry Selders, enacting the Juneteenth celebration into law and making it a permanent state holiday.

Juneteenth is a day celebrating June 19, 1865, when Major Gen. Gordon Granger led Union soldiers into Galveston, Texas, bringing the news that the Civil War had ended and the Emancipation Proclamation declared all those enslaved that they had been freed nearly two and a half years earlier.

“I was proud to sign HB 554 by Rep. Selders and co-authored by the entire Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus, finally recognizing Juneteenth Day as a legal holiday in Louisiana,” Edwards said. “This is an important part of American history, commemorating the day those who had been enslaved in the United States learned of their freedom. There are meaningful lessons for everyone to learn.”

Act 128 designates the third Saturday in June as Juneteenth Day throughout the state of Louisiana, in honor of the day African-Americans celebrate Emancipation Day. Beginning in 2022, all state offices will be closed the Friday before that Saturday.