ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Albany County Legislature, recognizing the historical significance of Juneteenth and the opportunity for people to learn more about the past, is moving forward with legislation to officially designate June 19 as an official holiday for county employees.
Juneteenth is already a state-designated holiday after Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation in October. Previously in June, Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan signed an executive order declaring the holiday in the city.
On June 19, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas with federal troops to read the order announcing the end of the Civil War, a day that has been marked in history as “Juneteenth.”
It wasn’t until two years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation went into effect that African Americans in Texas were made aware of their right to freedom.
“I would be remiss if I don’t recognize the achievements of the Black community. For Black people, June 19 continues to be significant because it represents freedom and all that we have overcome over the years. We still have a long way to go to be free of discrimination and we must address the facts of systemic racism, but we continue to make strides in the right direction,” said Legislative Black Caucus Chairman William Clay, who sponsored the resolution.
The Personnel Committee approved the resolution during its meeting on Thursday and the bill will go before the Legislature for a final vote on May 10.