DeWine: Ohio to observe Juneteenth as state holiday

State offices will close on Friday, June 18.
The Juneteenth flag outside the Hamilton County Courthouse in Downtown Cincinnati.
The Juneteenth flag outside the Hamilton County Courthouse in Downtown Cincinnati.(Hamilton County Commissioners)
Published: Jun. 17, 2021 at 7:30 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 18, 2021 at 6:10 AM EDT
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - Ohio Gov. DeWine on Thursday appointed Juneteenth as a state holiday.

The holiday falls on Saturday, June 19, meaning the state will commemorate the holiday on the previous business day, Friday, June 18.

State offices will be closed, DeWine says, and most state employees will have the day off, with normal exceptions such as hospitals and public safety.

>> LIST: Juneteenth celebrations around the Tri-State

DeWine’s announcement comes on the same day President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law, making Juneteenth the country’s 12th federal holiday.

The act passed unanimously in the Senate this week and received a majority of support in the House.

Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. It is celebrated on June 19 because that is the day the news of the Emancipation Proclamation reached enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, in 1865.

Because the Emancipation Proclamation only ended slavery in Confederate States, slavery remained legal in two Union border states, Delaware and Kentucky, until December 6, 1865, when the Thirteenth Amendment was ratified.

DeWine acted pursuant to Ohio law that defines state holidays as including “any day appointed and recommended by the governor of this state or the president of the United States.”

He says he also supports state legislation to commemorate Juneteenth in Ohio law.

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