PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Millions of Americans are off Monday in Observance of Juneteenth, the nation’s newest federal holiday. June 19 fell on Sunday and celebrations have been held all weekend.
Juneteenth marks the date in 1865 when Union troops arrived in Galveston, Texas to announce that all enslaved people were free, more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the emancipation proclamation.READ MORE: Viewing Underway For Fallen Firefighter Lt. Sean Williamson In South Philadelphia: 'It's A Terrible Tragedy'
Celebrations are underway throughout the Delaware Valley Monday.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy spoke at the Greater Mount Zion AME Church on Monday morning. He said this is a day when we must come to recognize New Jersey’s troubled history when it protected the institution of slavery.
In Delaware, Gov. John Carney will attend a Juneteenth Freedom Festival in Wilmington at Tubman-Garrett Park. It begins at 1 p.m.
In Philadelphia, some local high schoolers are celebrating and commemorating Juneteenth through service. Eyewitness News stopped by Vox Vaux Big Picture High School Monday morning.READ MORE: Family, Friends Hold Celebration Of Life Event For Delco Man That Drowned In Wildwood
Students painted murals at the school and helped with gardening and clean-up efforts in and around the building.
A panel from Villanova will be there to speak with the high schoolers later this afternoon.
This is the second year Juneteenth has been observed as a federal holiday. Supporters of Juneteenth worked for more than 25 years to persuade the government to make it a federal holiday.MORE NEWS: Crews Battle Wildfire At Brendan T Byrne State Forest In New Jersey
However, fewer than half of all states recognize the holiday for their government workers.