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Virginia Tech approves Juneteenth as permanent university holiday

Juneteenth Holiday graphic
Juneteenth Holiday graphic(Associated Press)
Published: May. 13, 2022 at 8:16 AM EDT
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BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - Virginia Tech announced Friday it has approved Juneteenth as an official university holiday.

The holiday, which is celebrated June 19, celebrates the day the last enslaved Americans in the former Confederate States learned of the freedom granted to them by the Emancipation Proclamation, which was issued more than two years earlier.

“Our sesquicentennial year has underscored the importance of connecting with our roots, understanding our past, and celebrating progress,” said Virginia Tech President Tim Sands.

Since the 19th falls on a Sunday this year, the university will observe Juneteenth Monday, June 20. Classes at the university will be canceled and eligible faculty and staff will get a paid holiday.

“Establishing Juneteenth as a university holiday creates another opportunity for Hokies to reflect on the lessons our history can teach us,” said President Sands.

Also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, and Black Independence Day, Juneteenth marks the occasion in 1865 when Gordan Granger, a Union general, arrived in Galveston, Texas, to inform enslaved people of their freedom and the Civil War’s end.

Juneteenth became a permanent holiday in Virginia in October 2020 and a permanent federal holiday in June 2021.

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