Jeff Ward Nov 10, 2020 WFMZALLENTOWN, Pa. -Lehigh County may add Juneteenth, the day marking the liberation of the last Black American slaves, as a paid holiday for its employees.
The county commissioners will consider adding the holiday, also known as Freedom Day and Emancipation Day, at their Nov. 24 meeting.
On June 19, 1865, Union forces arrived in Galveston, Texas, bringing word that President Abraham Lincoln had issued the Emancipation Proclamation, according to juneteenth.com. Lincoln's proclamation became law Jan. 1, 1863 but had little effect in rebel territories until after the Civil War ended in April 1865 and northern troops occupied the former Confederacy. The slaves in Texas were the last in the U.S. to learn they had been freed.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf signed legislation last year recognizing June 19 as "Juneteenth National Freedom Day." If approved by the commissioners, the new holiday would apply only to county employees.
Race also came up during the public comment portion of the Tuesday meeting.
After former commissioner Dean Browning discussed the filling of a vacancy on the board, a woman who identified herself as Jenna Teague from Fountain Hill said, "Dean Browning was caught impersonating a gay Black man on Twitter" and that any comments he made should be considered in light of that alleged deceit. Read more here