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Ahoskie adds Juneteenth as paid holiday

AHOSKIE – The significance of Juneteenth as an important part of American history is gaining traction.

At their regularly scheduled monthly meeting here July 13, the Ahoskie Town Council unanimously agreed to add Juneteenth to the town’s list of paid holidays for its employees.

“Our current personnel policy says we will follow the State of North Carolina holiday schedule,” said Town Manager Kerry McDuffie, speaking to the Council members. “The Mayor requested this be added to the agenda for the board’s consideration of adding Juneteenth to the town’s holiday schedule for next year. Juneteenth was declared a federal holiday by President Biden last month.”

Local government entities in several North Carolina counties and municipalities have approved adding Juneteenth as a holiday for their employees.

“We did a proclamation this year that recognized the significance of Juneteenth, but would like to see us acknowledge this date as a holiday for the years to come,” stated Mayor Weyling White.

Councilman Matt Bradley motioned to add Juneteenth to the town’s personnel policy, thus making it part of Ahoskie’s annual holiday schedule. Councilwoman Jamie Burns offered a second and the motion was approved by a 5-0 vote.

Currently, the town celebrates New Year’s Day, the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., Good Friday, Memorial Say, Independence Day, Labor Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas as paid holidays for its workers.

According to history.com, Juneteenth (short for “June Nineteenth”) marks the day when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas in 1865 to take control of the state and ensure that all enslaved people be freed. The troops’ arrival came a full two and a half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation.

Juneteenth honors the end to slavery in the United States and is considered the longest-running African American holiday.

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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