Map Shows States Where Juneteenth Is Recognized as a Public Holiday

by CiCi
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Juneteenth National Independence Day commemorates the end of slavery in the United States, marking the events of June 19, 1865, when approximately 250,000 enslaved African Americans in Texas were informed of their freedom. While it has become a federal holiday, not all Americans enjoy a day off to mark the occasion.

The Evolution of Juneteenth

First celebrated in Galveston, Texas, where Union soldiers announced the end of the Civil War and the freedom of enslaved people, Juneteenth became an official Texas state holiday in 1980. The federal recognition came much later, with Congress passing legislation on June 16, 2021, and President Joe Biden signing it into law on June 17, 2021.


Federal vs. State Recognition

Despite its federal status, the observance of Juneteenth varies significantly across states. In 2023, more than half of the U.S. states recognized Juneteenth as an official public holiday, according to Pew Research Center. In these states, government offices were closed, and state employees were granted a paid day off.


States Recognizing Juneteenth as a Public Holiday

As of last year, 28 states and the District of Columbia recognized Juneteenth as a public holiday, providing full pay and time off to state employees. These states include:

  • Alabama
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia

States Without Official Recognition

In contrast, 19 states had no official provision for Juneteenth, meaning it was not recognized as a public holiday. These states include:

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Mississippi
  • Montana
  • New Hampshire
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Vermont
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

Partial Recognition in Some States

Three states provided partial recognition of Juneteenth:

  • California: Allows state employees to take Juneteenth off in lieu of a personal holiday.
  • Pennsylvania: Permits certain employees to have the day off as an “official annual observance.”
  • North Carolina: Considers Juneteenth a “floating holiday,” giving some employees the day off.

Specific Provisions and Caveats

There are specific provisions and caveats in certain states. For example, in Illinois, state workers receive a paid holiday for Juneteenth only if it falls on a weekday.


Juneteenth’s recognition varies widely across the United States, reflecting differing levels of commitment to honoring this significant day. While some states offer full recognition and paid leave, others provide limited or no official acknowledgment. As Juneteenth continues to gain prominence, these disparities highlight the ongoing journey towards nationwide recognition and celebration of the end of slavery in America.


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