RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Gov. Roy Cooper (D) signed a proclamation Friday honoring June 19 as Juneteenth Day in North Carolina.
Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas — two months after the Confederacy had surrendered. That was also about 2 1/2 years after the Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves in the Southern states.
“As we celebrate Black heritage, history and freedom, it’s critical that we also take this opportunity to both celebrate the progress we’ve made and accept the challenge we still face to achieve true racial equality,” said Cooper. “By addressing the systemic racism that has been in our communities for centuries, we can create a more just and equitable future.”
Cooper’s proclamation says:
The proclamation also says Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue (2009-13) was the first North Carolina governor to proclaim the observance of Juneteenth in the state.
President Joe Biden signed legislation Thursday establishing a new federal holiday commemorating Juneteenth, saying he believes it will go down as one of the greatest honors he has as president.
The White House called Juneteenth a “day of profound weight and power.”
Biden signed into law a bill to make Juneteenth, or June 19, the 12th federal holiday. The House voted 415-14 on Wednesday to send the bill to Biden, while the Senate passed the bill unanimously the day before.
“This is a day of profound weight and profound power, a day in which we remember the moral stain, the terrible toll that slavery took on the country and continues to take,” Biden said.
It’s the first new federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was created in 1983. One of the federal holidays, Inauguration Day, happens every four years.