City of Statesboro establishes Juneteenth as paid city holiday

Celeste Chapman

STATESBORO  After a city council meeting on June 17, a unanimous vote designated “Juneteenth Independence Day” as a paid holiday for city employees. 

“Juneteenth Independence Day celebrates one of the greatest moments in American History- the freeing of more than four million enslaved Africans,” said Statesboro Mayor Jonathan McCollar. “I felt the Mayor and Council needed to establish Juneteenth as a paid holiday and not just a documented holiday for city employees.”

According to a press release from the city, the goal of this resolution is to “provide an opportunity for the people of the United States to learn more about the past to better understand the experiences that have shaped the United States.”

Juneteeth began as a holiday in the State of Texas and is now celebrated in 46 States, including Georgia, as a day of observance in recognition of the emancipation of all slaves in the United States. 

News of the end of slavery did not reach many Southwestern states, until months after the conclusion of the Civil War. 

On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, with news that the Civil War had ended and the slaves were free. 

This news arrived more than two and a half years after the issuing of the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. 

In the years that June 19 falls on Saturday, it shall be observed by the city on June 18. In the years that June 19 falls on a Sunday it shall be observed by the city on June 20. 

Celeste Chapman, Contributor, [email protected]