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Juneteenth now recognized as official Emory University holiday
Emory University clock tower

Emory University will recognize Juneteenth as an official holiday beginning this year. Juneteenth will be observed on Monday, June 20, 2022.

Juneteenth marks the day — June 19, 1865, more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation took effect — when Union troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, with news that enslaved people were now free and the war was over. The next year, African Americans began marking the anniversary with large gatherings in Texas, and Juneteenth grew to become a national celebration of freedom and the end of slavery.

On June 17, 2021, the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act was signed into law by President Joe Biden, establishing Juneteenth as a federal holiday. Juneteenth is the eleventh American federal holiday and the first to obtain legal observance as a federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was designated in 1983.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp recently signed legislation to recognize Juneteenth as a state holiday.

“Juneteenth is a day for remembrance and reflection on the struggle for equality that African Americans have led and endured in the nation,” says Emory President Gregory L. Fenves. “At Emory, we will celebrate this holiday and cherish the time to understand our history as well as engage in the ongoing work required to create a more equitable university.”

Emory has celebrated Juneteenth through various events and speaking engagements in the past, including in 2020, when university faculty, staff and students had an early release at noon on June 19 so they could spend the afternoon attending virtual events and reflecting on the meaning of the anniversary.

Details about Juneteenth events taking place on campus will be announced in the coming weeks.

This new holiday applies to Emory University faculty, staff and students only. Emory Healthcare employees and health sciences students with clinical and lab requirements should refer to their units for more information.

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