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The Atlanta Hawks announced Sunday that Juneteenth would be a paid company holiday for all team employees going forward.
Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated reported that news:
Marc J. Spears @MarcJSpearsESPN
The Hawks announce they have designated Juneteenth as a permanent paid company holiday for all its employees. Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19 that the Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free.
Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times shared the full press release:
That date—June 19, 1865—came nearly two-and-a-half years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863.
But as Elizabeth Nix of History.com noted, the Emancipation Proclamation “didn’t instantly free any slaves. The proclamation only applied to places under Confederate control and not to slave-holding border states or rebel areas already under Union control. However, as Northern troops advanced into the Confederate South, many slaves fled behind Union lines.”
Because Texas hadn’t seen any major battles during the Civil War and didn’t have a significant presence of Union troops, slavery had continued in the state. Per Nix, “Many slave owners from outside the Lone Star State viewed it as a safe haven and had moved there with their slaves.”
But when Union general Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston in 1865, slavery was finally over in Texas. And on Dec. 6, 1965, the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution—abolishing slavery—was ratified.
While Juneteenth is not yet recognized as a national holiday, 47 states and the District of Columbia recognize it as a holiday or day of observance. Texas first did so in 1980.