HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – Pennsylvania is permanently recognizing Juneteenth, the cultural holiday commemorating the emancipation of enslaved black people in the United States.
Gov. Tom Wolf on Wednesday signed legislation designating June 19 as Juneteenth National Freedom Day.
Most states recognize it, and Pennsylvania lawmakers typically recognize the day by passing non-binding resolutions.
The celebration started with the freed slaves of Galveston, Texas.
Although the Emancipation Proclamation freed the slaves in the South in 1863, it couldn’t be enforced in many places until after the Civil War ended in 1865.
It was June 19, 1865 when Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger and his Union troops arrived at Galveston with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free.
Under the law, employers aren’t required to treat June 19 as a legal or official holiday.
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