An Alabama city council established Juneteenth as a paid holiday, the latest in local efforts to recognize the historic day when slaves were emancipated.
Marcus Jackson, the only black member of the seven-member Prattville City Council, championed the campaign to add Juneteenth to the holiday schedule, a measure that was passed by a unanimous vote.
“It’s a good day in Prattville,” Jackson said. “I’m very appreciative that the City Council passed the resolution unanimously. Having the paid holiday is important because it marks a day when a large group of Americans learned about their freedom. ... We still have to work on our efforts to ensure diversity and inclusivity. Having this paid holiday can help keep a spotlight on those efforts."
Jackson had asked the mayor to recognize the holiday in July, but the mayor said that was the council's domain.
The day, which commemorates federal troops entering Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865, to ensure all slaves had been freed, has received increased attention in recent months. President Joe Biden made the date a federal holiday in a June 17 executive order, and several local governments, including the state of Alabama, followed suit, declaring the day a state holiday.
Though the holiday has received widespread support, some are opposed to the festivities, with South Carolina GOP Rep. Ralph Norman, one of 14 House members to oppose the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act on June 16, calling his opposition to the measure "an easy no vote."
"First of all, our Independence Day is July 4th. Period. Independence Day celebrates the anniversary of our declared independence from Great Britain, and it’s been that way for 245 years," Norman said in a statement. "If you want to call Juneteenth, for example, Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, then fine — that’s certainly worth considering. But calling it Independence Day is WHOLLY INAPPROPRIATE."
Jackson did not immediately respond to the Washington Examiner's request for comment.
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Original Author: Misty Severi
Original Location: Alabama city establishes Juneteenth as paid holiday