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June 18, 2020, Lawrence, MA – Mayor Daniel Rivera announces that Friday, June 19th, 2020, City Hall and all administrative buildings will be closed in observance of Juneteenth, in recognition of the abolishment of Slavery in the United States. “We are at a cross road in America where we must acknowledge our true history and the plight of African-Americans in this community and across the country.” says Mayor Daniel Rivera. “Tomorrow all city offices will be closed in observance of Juneteenth; as to show the importance of the issues being raised around inequality across the country and to give employees and residents of Lawrence time to recognize and reflect on the history of African Americans and to reflect on the gaps in equality and justice that still exist today.” Additionally, Mayor Rivera will be submitting a proposal to the Lawrence City Council to make Juneteenth an official City of Lawrence holiday in perpetuity.”
History and Significance of Juneteenth:
This Friday is the 155th commemoration of Juneteenth, a holiday that marks the end of enslavement and that has flourished into a celebration of Black history. On August 20th, 1619, the first enslaved Africans landed on the shores of Jamestown, Virginia to be sold as laborers to American settlers. After 246 years on June 19, 1865 African Americans in Texas were made aware of their right to freedom, more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation went into effect on January 1, 1863. Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston with approximately 2,000 federal troops to read General Order No. 3. The Order stated “the people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.” From that day on Juneteenth was celebrated by African American communities wildly as a celebration of Black history and traditions while also being used as a time for reflection.