In recognition of the freeing of enslaved people in the United States in 1865, City Manager Scott Sanders announced today that Des Moines will observe Juneteenth as an official holiday.
“Over the past several years, the discussion has grown to observe this important anniversary as an official City holiday,” Sanders said. “We hope by commemorating this date, we can better illustrate the significance of Juneteenth and generate greater recognition throughout our community and the state.”
City buildings and offices will be closed each year on June 19 or the adjoining weekday when the date falls on a weekend. This year, June 18 will serve as the official City holiday.
“To mark this important occasion and create a broader awareness, I encourage City employees to join the thousands of residents who participate in the many Juneteenth observations throughout Des Moines,” Sanders added.
Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Director of the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research at Harvard University, explains the origins of Juneteenth, the celebration of the end of slavery. Read this article.