Tomorrow, June 20, Wall Street will be closed to celebrate, for the first time, Juneteenth, a federal holiday declared last year by United States President Joe Biden to commemorate the liberation of enslaved African people in the North American country.

Since this year the anniversary would have fallen on Sunday 19 June, the stock exchanges will respect it on Monday 20.

The name Juneteenth derives from the crasis of the words June, and nineteenth. The anniversary, historically known as Independence Day and Emancipation Day, has been celebrated annually on June 19 in various parts of the United States since 1866. Texas was the first state to recognize this holiday in 1980. However, only on 17 June 2021, with the Juneteenth National Independence Day act signed by President Joe Biden, the anniversary become a federal holiday. An important recognition, certainly due but surprisingly recent.

The anniversary is June 19, 1865, when Union Army arrived in Galveston, Texas, and General Gordon Granger announced the end of the civil war and proclaimed the obligation to liberate all slaves who would have been free from then on. It happened about two months after the Confederation’s defeat in the civil war and two years after the Proclamation on the Emancipation of Enslaved Persons in the Southern States issued by Abraham Lincoln. Texas was the last state that had not yet implemented the abolition of slavery.

“The Juneteenth flags represent the history, and freedom of the American Slaves and their descendants,” writes Boston-based illustrator Lisa Jeanne Graf on her website. “The design of the Juneteenth flag depicts a bursting new star on the horizon. The star represents a new freedom, a new people, a new star. The red, white and blue colors communicate that the American Slaves, and their descendants were all Americans.”

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