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Mississippi Yet to Recognize Juneteenth as a State Holiday

by CiCi
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) – Despite Juneteenth being recognized as a federal holiday since 2021, Mississippi has yet to follow suit, leaving state and local offices open on this significant day commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.

While more than half of the states have officially recognized Juneteenth, efforts in Mississippi have stalled. Representative Earle Banks highlighted the struggle to gain legislative support for the holiday.

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“In this building, my bill died, along with several others that aimed to establish Juneteenth as a state holiday,” Banks said. “So much of Mississippi’s history is tied to slavery, yet many here fail to acknowledge the contributions our ancestors made in building this state.”

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In 2024 alone, nine bills seeking to make Juneteenth a state holiday failed to pass. Among these was a bill co-sponsored by Senator Hillman Frazier, which proposed replacing the Confederate Memorial Holiday with Juneteenth.

“We celebrate the Fourth of July, which we all embrace,” Sen. Frazier remarked. “I believe the general public is starting to recognize Juneteenth as a liberation day for all Americans.”

When asked about the challenges faced by state workers who wish to celebrate Juneteenth, Frazier urged patience. “Help is on the way. We’ll eventually pass it. It took time to establish Martin Luther King Day as a holiday, but we did it. We’ll achieve the same for Juneteenth.”

Despite the lack of official recognition, several cities and organizations across Mississippi have begun celebrating Juneteenth. Banks emphasized the importance of understanding Mississippi’s true history.

“If people understood the real history of Mississippi, not the watered-down version, they would see why celebrating this holiday is essential,” Banks stated.

Both lawmakers and others have vowed to continue reintroducing legislation to recognize Juneteenth as a state holiday.

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