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Hertford County adds Juneteenth to list of paid holidays

WINTON – Without much fanfare, the Hertford County Board of Commissioners added Juneteenth to the list of paid holidays for the county’s local government employees.

The approval came by unanimous vote at the board’s regularly scheduled meeting here Aug. 2.

At a previous meeting, the Commissioners had approved a resolution recognizing the significance of Juneteenth.

With the addition of Juneteenth, Hertford County local government will observe 10 holidays per year effective 2022. The current list of nine holidays include New Year’s Day, the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., Good Friday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.

The Hertford County Board of Commissioners will formally schedule the holiday closings for 2022 at a meeting in December of this year. At that time, Juneteenth will be officially added to the list.

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. It is often referred to as African American Emancipation Day.

Hertford County joins a growing list of R-C area local government entities that have added Juneteenth as a paid holiday.

In July of last year, Bertie County became the first locally – and the second in the state – to add Juneteenth to their list of recognized holidays. The Board of Commissioners in that county unanimously approved giving local government employees that day off.

At their meeting on Aug. 3 of last year, the Northampton County Board of Commissioners approved a Juneteenth holiday, but with a twist. Instead of the traditional observance on June 19, Northampton celebrates it on July 10. That is due to records from the Northampton County Museum showing that a Union Army Major gathered the citizens at the courthouse in Jackson on July 10, 1865 to publicly read the proclamation of freedom for those still in bondage.

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

Juneteenth was declared a federal holiday by President Joe Biden in June.

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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