This year Father’s Day, which is always celebrated on the third Sunday of June, lands on June 19th, a day that also happens to be a federal holiday known as Juneteenth. While we have always observed Juneteenth, 2021 was the first year our offices closed in honor of the day giving our employees a well-deserved day off. This year the Wayne Township Trustee Office will be closed in commemoration of Juneteenth on Monday, June 20.
June 19, 1865 was the day that Texans, particularly African-American Texans, learned that slavery in the United States had been abolished. Even though President Lincoln had issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1862 (that freed the slaves in the Confederate states on January 1, 1863), African-Americans in Texas did not learn the news until Union troops arrived in Galveston two and a half years later. That day, June 19th, Union General Gordon Granger came there and read aloud the announcement of the Proclamation to a joyous crowd, and June 19th became known as “Juneteenth,” the day that many thousands of people in bondage found out that they were, in fact, free.
Texas became the first state to make Juneteenth an official holiday in 1980, and since then almost all the states have gotten on board. Indiana became the 34th to make it official in 2010. As of last year, forty-six of the 50 United States recognized Juneteenth as either a state holiday or a day of observance. On June 17, 2021, Congress passed and President Biden signed into law the bill recognizing the Juneteenth National Independence Day. Juneteenth falls within the Honor America Days, a federal observance period established to honor the United States. This period lasts for the 21 days from Flag Day (June 14) to Independence Day (July 4).
Fort Wayne’s official celebration this year is the Macknificent Freedom Fest, presented by The Art Center Inc. This celebration takes place at McMillen Park with The Keepers of the Light Ceremony, The ALC Promenade down Oxford Street, Mack Fest All-Star Basketball Showcase and other festivities on Saturday, June 18th, from 10:00am – 7pm—There will be food, music and booths of various organizations including the Wayne Township Trustee Office.
“The Macknificent Freedom Fest takes center stage as Fort Wayne’s official Juneteenth Celebration, presented by The Art Center Inc! This event is focused on bringing the community together and celebrating the newly proclaimed national holiday. Juneteenth is an annual holiday to observe the end of slavery in the United States. It marks the day when news of emancipation reached people in the deepest parts of the former Confederacy in Galveston, Texas, on June 19th, 1865.”
We hope to see you there. It will be a great place to bring your dad or your kids or just yourself and celebrate two holidays at once. Happy Father’s Day, and Happy Juneteenth.
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