SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) – Illinois government offices will be closed Friday in a nod to a new federal law, making Juneteenth an official holiday.
The announcement Thursday by Gov. J.B. Pritzker supersedes state law signed Wednesday by the governor that would have made June 19 a state holiday next year. Because the day falls on Sunday in 2022, the first paid state holiday would have occurred in 2023.
Juneteenth marks the 1865 date when the last enslaved Black people learned from Union soldiers in Texas that they were free, more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed.
Juneteenth is the first federal holiday since the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday was created in 1983.