Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated remembrance of the ending of slavery in the United States. In recognition of the historical significance of this holiday, the University of Minnesota has added Juneteenth as an observed holiday to each academic calendar systemwide moving forward. This year’s Juneteenth commemoration is on Monday, June 19, 2023.
As with other observed holidays, the University will move to reduced operations, meaning no classes are held and only essential employees are required to work as directed by their supervisor. Employees paid on an hourly rate who are required to work shall be paid at the rate of time and one-half for the hours worked.
Reflecting on the Importance of Juneteenth
Juneteenth observes the realization of the Emancipation Proclamation in Texas on June 19, 1865, more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the proclamation. It has become a day to come together to both celebrate and commit to justice.
Professor Keith Mayes in UMTC’s Department of African American & African Studies in the College of Liberal Arts offers this description:
“On June 19, 1865, General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, to read a military order that stated enslaved Africans were free. This marks the beginning of Jubilee Day, or what became known as Juneteenth Day celebrations in Black communities in east Texas and across the United States. Juneteenth is part of a long tradition of Freedom Day celebrations in the U.S., commemorating significant events in African American history.”
Connecting with Community Celebrations
Juneteenth acknowledges the steadfast move for freedom—without ignoring current challenges—and celebrations center around great expressions of joy. Join the University community at the second annual U of M Juneteenth Celebration: The Art of Freedom on Saturday, June 17, 2023. Details about the event and how you can get involved, including calls for posters and workshops, as well as partner and volunteer opportunities, can be found on the University’s Juneteenth website. This website will continue to be updated with more information, including Juneteenth events and gatherings taking place across Minnesota.