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Juneteenth is officially a state holiday in Louisiana

Published: Jun. 7, 2021 at 5:08 AM CDT|Updated: Jun. 7, 2021 at 5:32 AM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Juneteenth will now be recognized as a state holiday in Louisiana.

Governor John Bel Edwards signed the bill into law Thursday, June 10 after it passed unanimously in both the House and Senate during the 2021 Legislative Session.

Most of us recognize April 9th, 1865, as the end of the Civil War. But according to State Representative Larry Selders, there’s a little bit more to the story.

“We had, like, 13 parishes that still had slavery until three years later and so that’s what the Juneteenth bill is about. You know, acknowledging the freeing of the slaves,” said Representative Larry Selders (D).

It’s a holiday growing in popularity as more people begin to learn parts of history from the Civil War that they may not have been taught before.

“I’ve worked with Erica Green, the councilwoman here in Baton Rouge. I’ve worked with Rep. Ted James and the Legislative Black Caucus, they’ve been really supportive behind it with some other colleagues as well so, it’s going good,” said Selders.

Down the road from the capitol, Jason Roberts with the “Now and Then African American Museum” says the declaration of Juneteenth as a state holiday has been long overdue.

“The celebration of Juneteenth is special because we celebrate the day when the last of us were freed,” said Roberts.

Roberts says it’s important to learn more than what some history books share.

“The people who owned slaves in Texas had not told them that they were free. So, it wasn’t until June 19th that General Gordan Granger sailed into Galveston and announced to them that they were free,” said Roberts.

Reports say 47 states already recognize Juneteenth as a state holiday.

“You know all the things going on around Baton Rouge and in the country, I like to see the unity here in the capital. At least we could have something to hold on to together,” said Selders.

“I think that if everyone actually participated in Juneteenth and got in the spirit of it, we would all come together a lot easier,” said Roberts.

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