All city offices in Williamsburg will be closed Friday in commemoration of Juneteenth.
Officials made the announcement Wednesday.
“The city urges the community to celebrate the holiday in a manner consistent with the governor’s restrictions on social gatherings during Phase 2 of Forward Virginia, the governor’s reopening plan intended to mitigate the continued spread of COVID-19, officials said in a news release.
The holiday will not impact emergency services. Parks will remain open with limited services consistent with Phase 2 of the Forward Williamsburg Plan.
The garbage service schedule will be unchanged, officials said.
Juneteenth is the oldest nationally-recognized commemoration of the official end of slavery in the United States, according to James Madison’s Montpelier. The celebration marks the last day that enslaved people learned of their freedom in 1865 in Texas.
While the Emancipation Proclamation had gone into effect more than two years prior to that date, Texas still maintained approximately 250,000 slaves until Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger issued an order stating specifically that all of the slaves in Texas were free, according to the Public Broadcasting Service.
While Texas became the first state to recognize Juneteenth as an official holiday in 1979, an additional 41 other states and the District of Columbia have taken the same step.
Gov. Ralph Northam announced Tuesday he’ll propose making Juneteenth an official holiday in a state that once was home to the capital of the Confederacy.
The announcement comes days after Northam announced he was ordering the removal of a towering statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee in Richmond.
Northam said every executive branch state employee will have the day off with pay and urged local governments to observe the commemoration as well.
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