Juneteenth becomes official holiday for City of Birmingham

juneteenth
Black Independence Day, Juneteenth, is an official holiday for the people of Birmingham. Photo via Bham Black Pride

Juneteenth has several names including Freedom Day and “Black Independence Day.” Now it has been named an official holiday for the City of Birmingham. Keep reading to learn more about this remarkable day and how the city plans to celebrate it.

What is Juneteenth?

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We wouldn’t have the first Black Poet Laureate of Alabama without Juneteenth. Photo via Ashley M. Jones’ Facebook

The Birmingham City Council approved Juneteenth, June 19, as an official city holiday on Thursday, October 21—after a recommendation from Mayor Randall L. Woodfin.

We’re proud to continue Juneteenth’s grand legacy here in our own city—as both a tribute to the freedom fighters that came before us and as a reminder to remain vigilant in the pursuit of equality.”

Randall L. Woodfin, Mayor, City of Birmingham

June 19th or “Juneteenth” is an important day in Black-American history and is one of the oldest celebrations of the ending of slavery in the United States. On June 19, 1865 Union soldiers landed in Galveston, Texas with news that all slaves were free—two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.

156 years in the making

Mayor Woodfin fist bumps Ursula Smith, who will be featured in the Pricelesscampaign. Photo via Libby Foster for Bham Now
We cannot wait to see the celebration Birmingham has in store for next year. Photo via Libby Foster for Bham Now

This holiday is a time for commemoration and jubilation. The first official June 19 celebrations were in Texas and is now recognized across the nation. President Joe Biden declared it a federal holiday earlier this year.

“What started as a celebration in Galveston, Texas, has become a beacon of progress nationwide, one that mirrors Birmingham’s own legacy of social justice and inclusion.”

Randall L. Woodfin, Mayor, City of Birmingham

Our Magic City has had several Black Independence day celebrations. Check it out:

The city will observe Juneteenth on Monday, June 20, 2022 for city employees.

How do you plan to celebrate Juneteenth next year? Let us know by tagging us on socials @BhamNow.

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Tira Davis
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