Jackson County adopts Juneteenth as official holiday

By The Examiner staff

Jackson County will recognize Juneteenth as an official holiday. 

The County Legislature this week passed an ordinance formally putting that into effect. County Executive Frank White Jr. last year declared the holiday in 2020 and asked legislators to make it permanent. 

County employees will have the day off and are encouraged to use it as a “day on” in some form of community service. The holiday next week will be June 18 as the actual holiday this year falls on a Saturday. 

Legislator Jalen Anderson, D-Blue Springs, called Juneteenth “a day of liberation, day of emancipation, a holiday celebrating the Emancipation Proclamation by President Lincoln.” 

Juneteenth marks the day – June 19, 1865, weeks after the formal end of the Civil War and two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation – that a Union General, Gordon Granger, stood on Texas soil in Galveston, Texas, and read General Orders No. 3: “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.” 

That is considered the end of slavery in the United States, and Juneteenth in recent years has become more widely recognized and celebrated. 

“Many states did not recognize this until the 2000s,” Anderson said, “which I think speaks to how slow progress is, but it gets there after a long while.”