June 19 is recognized as Juneteenth, the day which marked the end of U.S. slavery in 1865. Although the Civil War had ended several months before, it was on June 19 that word of emancipation finally reached a group of slaves in Galveston, Texas. A tradition for Black Americans since the late 19th century, Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration acknowledging emancipation.
Most states have previously recognized Juneteenth as a state holiday or special observance. Only Hawaii, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota had no official recognition of the holiday. After a long effort, however, Congress has passed a bill recognizing Juneteenth as a national holiday, and President Biden signed it into law just two days before Juneteenth 2021.
Southern Company encourages employees to learn more about the holiday and its history through the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). NMAAHC is supported by the Southern Company Charitable Foundation and it has a slate of virtual events that will be available to the public.