Juneteenth will be celebrated as a city holiday next year in Missouri City.
The city council last week approved making Juneteenth a holiday recognized by the city, meaning many employees won’t have to work that day starting in 2022.
With the vote, Missouri City becomes one of a growing list of Texas communities to adopt Juneteenth as a city holiday in the months since President Joe Biden signed a bill into law mandating that Juneteenth be observed nationally.
“With the recent passage of legislation by Congress to recognize Juneteenth as a national holiday, the city believed it is important to recognize it as a holiday in light of the significance it represents to our country, state and community,” Interim City Manager Bill Atkinson said of the move. “The city wants to provide the opportunity to our employees to honor this day and reflect its meaning.”
Juneteenth, also known as Emancipation Day, celebrates June 19, 1865, when Union Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston and announced that Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, which was signed two years earlier, had freed enslaved people.
The holiday has long been celebrated in Texas. Texas state Rep. Al Edwards wrote a bill making Juneteenth a state holiday in 1980.
But in recent years, the movement to turn Juneteenth into a national holiday gained steam, with Biden doing so earlier this year.
Since then, several communities, such as Galveston, have added the day to the list of city holidays.
Others, such as Sugar Land, have not yet done so, according to Doug Adolph, spokesperson for the city.
For its part, Missouri City has a long history of celebrating Juneteenth. For the last 18 years, the Missouri City Juneteenth Celebration Foundation has kicked off the holiday with a parade and followed that with an evening of music and dance at Hunter’s Glen Park.