Governor Northam commemorates Juneteenth in Virginia
HAMPTON, Va. (WWBT) - Governor Ralph Northam commemorated Juneteeth at an event at Fort Monroe National Monument and announce a project to provide a concise and accessible survey of Black history in Virginia.
This Saturday will be the second time Virginia has observed Juneteenth, and the first time celebrating it as a permanent holiday since Northam announced his intention to make Juneteenth a state-wide holiday last June.
The statewide holiday was made official in October 2020.
“Our recognition of Juneteenth signifies that we understand its importance to all Americans—it was on this day in 1865 that our nation took one step closer toward its promise of liberty and justice for all,” said Northam. “While it did not end racism, oppression, or violence, it is an important symbol of hope—and a reminder of the constant struggle for equality. As we continue the work of telling the full and accurate story of our shared history, we must also acknowledge historical moments like this, even as they challenge us to reckon with our past and our present.”
In a video message and proclamation, Northman released Friday, he further expresses his belief in the holiday’s importance and invites Virginians to celebrate.
Partnering with the Virginia Museum of History and Culture, Northam announced the distribution of a new book created about an exhibit the museum has in 2019 titled, Determined: The 400-Year Struggle for Black Equality, to every high school, middle school and library in Virginia, according to a press release by the governer’s office.
The exhibit followed the story of Black people’s fight for equality over four centuries dating back to 1619 when the first ship with enslaved African people dock in Virginia.
“The Virginia Museum of History and Culture is proud to partner with the Commonwealth to make this important history more available and accessible in schools and libraries,” said Jamie Bosket, President, and CEO of the Virginia Museum of History and Culture. “Determined was one of our most successful and highly-visited exhibits, and we created this book to ensure the important story it told, and the vast work from the historians and curators involved, would be lasting. After more than four years of research, we are honored to put forward this new resource for all those seeking to learn more about our shared past.”
This Saturday will also be the first time Juneteenth is celebrated as a national holiday.
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