UMBC will be closed on Friday, June 18, to observe Juneteenth, an annual celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.The official holiday occurs on June 19, recognizing the day in 1865 when Union troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, with news that the Civil War had ended, and enslaved people in Confederate states had been freed more than two and a half years earlier.
While Juneteenth has long been celebrated in the Black community, many other Americans are still learning about the importance and significance of this day. Although the Emancipation Proclamation, issued by President Lincoln on January 1, 1863, freed enslaved people in Confederate controlled states, the reality is that freedom was delayed for many.
For example, Maryland, a Union border state, was not included in the Emancipation Proclamation, and enslaved people in the state were not officially freed until the following year. Even in Confederate states that were included, many slaveholders withheld the information from enslaved people until forced to comply. The 13th Amendment to the Constitution formally abolished slavery in America in December, 1865.
In recognition of the delayed emancipation of enslaved people, Juneteenth was first celebrated in Texas, and is now celebrated throughout the United States on June 19 each year; it is believed to be the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States. On Tuesday, the Senate unanimously passed a measure that will make Juneteenth a federal holiday, and the House is expected to approve the measure as well.
We encourage all in our community to use the day to put our UMBC values of equity and inclusion into action by participating in events honoring the holiday or through education and self-reflection on racial justice issues.
You can learn more about the legacy and importance of Juneteenth through the National Museum of African American History and Culture and at PBS. For ways to celebrate and recognize this important day, we encourage you to join a webinar about Harriet Tubman sponsored by the Erickson School of Aging Studies. Our partners at the University of Maryland, Baltimore are also presenting a Juneteenth Jubilee. The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra is performing a special celebration that you can watch for free on MPT.
For faculty and staff, Friday June 18 will be added to your timesheet as an administrative leave day. Exempt employees who must work on June 18 can take administrative leave on an alternate day by August 31, 2021. Nonexempt employees who must work will be credited with the administrative leave on that day.
Thank you for all that you do to live our community values.
President Freeman Hrabowski
Provost Philip Rous