NEW YORK, NY (CBS Newspath) – Juneteenth celebrations are happening all over the U.S. and federally it’s being observed this Monday, June 20.
Juneteenth marks the date in 1865 when Union troops arrived in Galveston, Texas to announce that all enslaved people were free, more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation.
In Fort Worth, Texas 95-year-old Opal Lee, known as the “Grandmother of Juneteenth” led her annual 2 ½ mile walk for freedom. The walk symbolizes the 2 ½ years it took for the enslaved black people in Texas to be freed after the emancipation proclamation.
“And when they learned they were free. They started celebrating. And we’ve been celebrating ever since,” Lee said.
For over 25 years Juneteenth supporters have tried to persuade the government to make the date a national holiday. This year is the first that New York City declared that Juneteenth would be a paid holiday for city workers.
However, across the nation observances are different. Lawmakers in Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, and other some other states failed to pass legislation that would allow workers to have a paid day off.