NATIONAL NEWS

Juneteenth proclaimed state holiday again in Alabama, after bill to make it permanent falters

May 20, 2024, 4:30 PM

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey has again authorized Juneteenth— the day commemorating the end of slavery in the United States — as a state holiday, while legislative efforts to make it a permanent holiday in the state have so far faltered.

Ivey’s office said Monday that June 19 will be a holiday for state workers coinciding with the federal holiday. Juneteenth has been a federal holiday since 2021. This will be the fourth year that Ivey has designated it as a state holiday.

Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, the day enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, learned from Union soldiers that they were free. The news came two months after the end of the Civil War and about 2 1/2 years after the Emancipation Proclamation.

Action by the Alabama Legislature would be required to make Juneteenth a permanent state holiday. There have been efforts to do so or to abolish or rename of the state’s three Confederate-related holidays. So far none of those efforts have been successful.

A bill proposed this year would have added Juneteenth as a permanent holiday. It would have let state employees choose whether they wanted to take that day or Jefferson Davis’ birthday off from work. The state House of Representatives approved the bill, but it did not get a vote in the Alabama Senate.

Alabama has three Confederate-related state holidays that close state offices. Alabama marks Confederate Memorial Day in April and the birthday of Confederate President Jefferson Davis in June. The state jointly observes Robert E. Lee Day with Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in January.

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