Juneteenth to be a Mount Desert holiday

MOUNT DESERT — The Select Board voted earlier this month to make Juneteenth (June 19) each year a paid holiday for town employees and to close the town office.

June 19, 1865, was the day that enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, were first told of President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, which he had made two and a half years earlier. The first Juneteenth celebration was held in 1866.

This past June, President Joe Biden signed a law designating June 19 as Juneteenth National Independence Day. Also in June, Gov. Janet Mills signed a law designating June 19 a state holiday.

A year earlier, she had issued a Juneteenth statement in which she said, “While we have made progress in the long march to create a more perfect union…progress is by no means inevitable. On this Juneteenth [2020], as the drumbeat of hate and fear grows across the country in the face of great injustices, let us renew our commitment to fighting for a state and nation where equality, freedom and justice for all is more than an ideal, it is a reality.”

Town Clerk Claire Woolfolk has recommended that the Select Board designate Juneteenth a holiday in Mount Desert. Their vote was unanimous.

Dick Broom

Dick Broom

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Dick Broom covers the towns of Mount Desert and Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert Island High School and the school system board and superintendent's office. He enjoys hiking with his golden retriever and finding new places for her to swim. [email protected]
Dick Broom

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