Select Board proclaims June 19 as Juneteenth Independence Day in Hingham

town of hingham ma town hall
Photo Courtesy of the Town of Hingham

June 16, 2021 by Carol Britton Meyer

Saturday, June 19, marks the first time that Juneteenth is celebrated as a legal holiday in Massachusetts.

In honor of that occasion, Gov. Charlie Baker signed legislation last July that made June 19 an official state holiday, 13 years after the state's only Black Governor, Deval Patrick, signed the first proclamation commemorating Juneteenth in Massachusetts.

Accordingly, the Select Board proclaimed this Saturday, June 19, as Juneteenth Independence Day in Hingham last night at their first in-person meeting in more than a year.

Hingham Public Library and the transfer station will be closed on Saturday, and Town Hall, the DPW office, and the Senior Center on Friday, June 18, in observance of this holiday.

"Juneteenth commemorates the day in 1865 that enslaved persons held in Galveston, Texas, learned of their freedom -- two years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation," Select Board Chair Joseph Fisher explained. "General Gordon Granger of the United States Army -- who at the time was in command of the District of Texas, issued a General Order stating that 'all slaves are free.'"

The first Juneteenth celebration was held in Texas in 1866. Since that time, Juneteenth has been celebrated in communities across the United States, "providing an opportunity to mark the emancipation of enslaved people," states a proclamation issued by the Select Board.

The proclamation also notes that on this day, in hundreds of communities across the country, "people of all races, nationalities, and religions join hands to acknowledge the painful history and lasting, systemic impact of slavery and racial injustice in the United States. Junteenth is an opportunity to recommit ourselves to the goal of creating a more equal and just society, an effort that continues today."

The Hingham Unity Council is hosting a Juneteenth community celebration on Saturday, June 19, from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Bathing Beach.

For further information, visit the HUC website at

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