Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Williamsburg city offices to close for Juneteenth

(WYDaily file/Courtesy of Pexels)
(WYDaily file/Courtesy of Pexels)

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.


John Mangalonzo
John Mangalonzo
John Mangalonzo ( is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.

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