Formally declared an official federal holiday two years ago, the country's second day of independence, Juneteenth, honors the date the last slaves in the United States were freed.
Juneteenth this year will mark 158 years since the end of chattel slavery in America on June 19, 1865, nearly three years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued. That's when, two months after the Civil War ended in April 1865, a Union Army general told enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, that they were free.
Juneteenth became the nation's first new federal holiday in decades. Before that, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was introduced in 1983 to honor the late civil rights leader.
In a statement released last year on Juneteenth, President Biden wrote:
"Juneteenth marks both the long, hard night of slavery and subjugation and a promise of a brighter morning to come. It is a day of profound weight and power that reminds us of our extraordinary capacity to heal, hope, and emerge from our most painful moments into a better version of ourselves. Great nations don’t ignore their most painful moments. They confront them to grow stronger."
Massachusetts made Juneteenth Independence Day an official state holiday in July of 2020. As residents throughout the state reflect on its significance, there are several events throughout the state marking the holiday.
A few Juneteenth events in Boston
- Friday, June 16 | A block party thrown by Embrace Ideas Festival at Roxbury Community College will cap the group's multi-day celebrations commemorating Juneteenth.
- Saturday, June 17 | Hyde Park's second-annual "Juneteenth Joy" celebration will be held from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Francis D. Martini Memorial Shell Park and Moynihan Recreation Area.
- Monday, June 19 | The Boston Juneteenth Committee and the Museum of the National Center of Afro American Artists (NCAAA) will hold its 13th annual Juneteenth Emancipation Observation in Roxbury. At noon, there will be a flag-raising ceremony at the Dillaway-Thomas House at 183 Roxbury St. before a parade begins at 1 p.m. to the NCAAA's museum on 300 Walnut Ave.
For details on other events marking Juneteenth in Greater Boston, go here.
And, here's a look at what's open and closed on Monday, June 19, 2023.
What's open and closed on Juneteenth
Federal offices: Closed.
Federal courts: Closed.
Post offices: Closed.
State offices: Closed.
State courts: Closed.
Municipal offices: Closed.
Public schools: Closed.
Trash pickup: Check with your local government or provider. Boston residents will have trash pickup delayed by a day in most instances, but can check by searching their address here.
Stock market: Closed.
Retail locations: Open.
Liquor stores: Open.
MBTA: All T services will operate on their regular schedule.