714 is juneteenth a bank holiday what s open and closed in 2024

What is Juneteenth and Why is it Celebrated?

Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, is a holiday celebrated on June 19th in the United States. It commemorates the emancipation of enslaved African Americans and marks the end of slavery in the U.S. Juneteenth is often referred to as America’s “second Independence Day,” as it represents a significant milestone in the nation’s history.

The holiday originated in Galveston, Texas, and has since spread across the country, gaining recognition as a day to celebrate freedom, equality, and the resilience of African Americans. Juneteenth celebrations often involve parades, festivals, concerts, and family gatherings, where people come together to honor their heritage and reflect on the ongoing struggle for racial justice.

The Historical Significance of June 19, 1865

On June 19, 1865, Union Army General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, and announced that all enslaved people were free. This proclamation came more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, which had legally freed slaves in rebel states. However, due to the lack of Union troops to enforce the order in Texas, slavery continued in the state until Granger’s arrival.

Granger’s announcement, known as General Order No. 3, stated: “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor.” The news of freedom spread rapidly among the enslaved population, leading to joyous celebrations and the birth of Juneteenth.

Juneteenth Becomes a Federal Holiday in 2021

In June 2021, Congress passed legislation to make Juneteenth a federal holiday, and President Joe Biden signed it into law. This move came amidst nationwide protests and calls for racial justice following the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and other African Americans. The recognition of Juneteenth as a national holiday marked a significant step in acknowledging the painful history of slavery and the ongoing struggle for equality in the United States.

As a federal holiday, Juneteenth provides Americans with a day to reflect on the nation’s past, celebrate the progress made, and commit to building a more just and equitable future. It also serves as an opportunity to educate people about the history of slavery and its lasting impact on African American communities.

What’s Open and Closed on Juneteenth 2024?

As Juneteenth is now a federal holiday, many businesses and institutions observe the day by closing their doors or operating with limited hours. However, the specific openings and closings may vary depending on the state, local regulations, and individual company policies. Here’s a general overview of what to expect on Juneteenth 2024:

Banks, USPS, and Stock Markets Closed

Most major banks, such as Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Chase, will be closed on Juneteenth. The United States Postal Service (USPS) will also suspend regular mail delivery and close post office locations. Additionally, the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and Nasdaq will be closed in observance of the holiday.

Banks Closed on Juneteenth Other Closures
  • Bank of America
  • Wells Fargo
  • Chase
  • Citibank
  • U.S. Bank
  • United States Postal Service (USPS)
  • New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)
  • Nasdaq

Delivery Services and Many Retailers Open

While banks and financial institutions close for Juneteenth, many businesses remain open. FedEx and UPS will continue to operate, ensuring that packages and shipments are delivered. Large retailers like Costco and Walmart are also expected to stay open on Juneteenth, although some may operate with reduced hours.

It’s important to note that individual businesses have the discretion to close or remain open on Juneteenth. Some companies, such as Target and Best Buy, have chosen to give employees the day off or offer holiday pay to those who work. It’s always a good idea to check with specific businesses for their Juneteenth operating hours.

Government Offices and Schools Mostly Closed

Federal government offices, such as the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and county clerk offices, will be closed on Juneteenth. Many state and local government offices will also shut down in observance of the holiday. Public schools are likely to be closed, giving students and staff the day off. Private schools and universities may have varying policies regarding Juneteenth closures.

If you have business with a government office or school, it’s best to check their specific Juneteenth schedule or plan to take care of any necessary tasks on the days surrounding the holiday.

How Americans Celebrate Juneteenth

Juneteenth celebrations take many forms across the United States, reflecting the diverse traditions and customs of African American communities. Common elements of Juneteenth festivities include:

  • Parades and processions featuring marching bands, dance troupes, and decorated floats
  • Community festivals with live music, food vendors, and art displays
  • Educational events and workshops focusing on African American history and culture
  • Family gatherings and barbecues, where people share traditional foods and stories
  • Concerts and performances showcasing African American artists and musicians

In recent years, many cities and organizations have expanded their Juneteenth celebrations. For example, the White House hosted a Juneteenth event in 2022, featuring music, speeches, and a moment of silence. Museums, libraries, and community centers often offer special exhibits and programs to commemorate the holiday and educate the public about its significance.

As Juneteenth gains wider recognition, more Americans are embracing the holiday as an opportunity to engage in meaningful conversations about race, equality, and social justice. Celebrations serve as a platform to amplify African American voices, honor the sacrifices of those who fought for freedom, and work towards a more equitable future.

Juneteenth’s Importance in American History

Juneteenth holds a special place in American history, as it represents a turning point in the nation’s journey towards freedom and equality. The holiday serves as a reminder of the long and difficult struggle endured by African Americans, from the horrors of slavery to the ongoing fight against systemic racism.

Reflecting on the Long Road Since Emancipation

The Emancipation Proclamation, issued by President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863, declared that all enslaved people in Confederate states were free. However, it took more than two years for this news to reach Texas, where slavery remained a reality until June 19, 1865. This delay underscores the slow and uneven process of emancipation, as well as the resistance faced by those seeking to end the institution of slavery.

Even after Juneteenth, African Americans continued to face numerous challenges and injustices, including segregation, discrimination, and violence. The Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s marked another significant milestone in the fight for racial equity, but the struggle for true equality persists to this day.

A Day to Celebrate Freedom and Continue Striving for Equality

Juneteenth is a day to celebrate the resilience, strength, and contributions of African Americans throughout history. It is a time to reflect on the progress made and the work that still needs to be done to achieve racial justice. By commemorating Juneteenth, Americans can engage in honest conversations about the nation’s past and present, while working towards a future where everyone can enjoy the full promise of freedom and equality.

As Juneteenth becomes increasingly recognized and celebrated across the United States, it serves as a powerful reminder that the fight for racial equity is an ongoing journey. The holiday inspires Americans to educate themselves about the experiences and perspectives of African Americans, to stand in solidarity against injustice, and to actively participate in building a society that truly lives up to its ideals of liberty and justice for all.

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By James Altucher

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