State government agencies and offices in Maryland will be closed Friday in observance of the new Juneteenth National Independence Day.
Gov. Larry Hogan’s announcement came Thursday, the same day that President Joe Biden signed legislation recognizing the new federal holiday on June 19. Whenever a national holiday falls on a Saturday, state employees observe the holiday on the preceding Friday.
Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas — two months after the Confederacy had surrendered. That was also about 2 1/2 years after the Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves in the Southern states.
“This is an important step forward for our country,” Hogan said in a statement. “Maryland is proud to support this legislation, and observe this new national holiday.”
Court of Appeals Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera issued an administrative order Thursday recognizing Juneteenth as an official Maryland Judiciary holiday. All courts and Judiciary offices, with the exception of commissioners’ offices, will be closed Friday.