Juneteenth becomes public holiday for the city of Birmingham

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Black Independence Day, Juneteenth, is a public holiday for the people of Birmingham. Photo via Bham Black Pride

Juneteenth has several names including Freedom day and “Black Independence Day”. Now it has been named the official public holiday for the city of Birmingham. Read on to learn more about this remarkable day and how the city plans to celebrate it.

What is Juneteenth?

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Birmingham City Council approved June 19 as the city’s official holiday on Thursday October 21, after a recommendation from Mayor Randall L. Woodfin.

We are proud to carry on Juneteenth’s great legacy here in our own city, both as a tribute to the freedom fighters who have come before us and as a reminder to remain vigilant in the pursuit of equality.

Randall L. Woodfin, Mayor, City of Birmingham

June 19 or “June” is an important day in black American history and one of the oldest celebrations of the end of slavery in the United States. On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers landed in Galveston, Texas, with the news that all slaves were free, two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.

156 years in the making

Mayor Woodfin hits Ursula Smith, who will be featured in the Priceless campaign.  Photo via Libby Foster for Bham Now
We can’t wait to see the celebration Birmingham has in store for next year. Photo via Libby Foster for Bham Now

This feast is a time of commemoration and jubilation. The first official June 19 celebrations were held in Texas and are now recognized across the country. President Joe Biden declared it a federal holiday earlier this year.

“What started as a celebration in Galveston, Texas has grown into a beacon of progress nationwide, reflecting Birmingham’s own heritage of social justice and inclusion.”

Randall L. Woodfin, Mayor, City of Birmingham

Our magical city has had several Black Independence Day celebrations. Check it out:

The city will observe Juneteenth on Monday, June 20, 2022 for city employees.

How do you plan to celebrate June 19 next year? Let us know by tagging us on social media @BhamNow.

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Tira Davis

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