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Bertie adds Juneteenth as official holiday

WINDSOR – While there are events nationwide to celebrate the formal end of slavery, Bertie County is now recognizing June 19 as an official holiday.

At their regularly scheduled meeting here Monday, the county’s Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the observance of this holiday in addition to its list of recognized holidays.

In doing so, Bertie becomes the second county in North Carolina, joining Wake, to give their employees a paid day off on June 19.

Better known as Juneteenth, this particular date marks the 1865 arrival of Union Major General Gordon Granger in Galveston, Texas where he read a proclamation that freed the last remaining slaves in that state.

Even though it is not a federally recognized holiday, Juneteenth is celebrated today in most all states as African American Emancipation Day.

Earlier during Monday’s meeting, Commissioner Ernestine Bazemore asked board chairman Ron Wesson to add an item for discussion to the portion of the agenda dealing with the 2021 Commissioners meeting schedule and 2021 State Holiday schedule.

Later, when the agenda reached that topic, Bazemore proposed adding June 19 as an observed holiday in Bertie County.

“This is the oldest known celebration that ended slavery in the United States on June 19, 1865,” Bazemore noted.

Commission Chairman Ron Wesson remarked that the board has the authority to add holidays to the county calendar.

“It’s up to this board to consider it,” Wesson said.

Commissioner John Trent motioned to approve adding June 19 as a holiday in Bertie County. His motion was approved without objection.

 

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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