June 14, 2023
The newest federal holiday, Juneteenth — short for “June Nineteenth” — is the oldest known nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States.
It is a time to reflect on a profoundly painful chapter of the nation’s past, as well as a celebration of hope, optimism and the resilience of the human spirit.
The holiday gets its name from the date in 1865 when 2,000 federal troops arrived in Galveston, TX, and declared enslaved persons there free by executive decree — more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863.
Texas made Juneteenth a state holiday in 1980, and most states followed suit in subsequent years.
“Great nations don’t ignore their most painful moments,” President Joe Biden said on the day June 19 was made a federal holiday in 2021. “We come to terms with the mistakes we made. And in remembering those moments, we begin to heal and grow stronger.”
USPS will observe the holiday on Monday, June 19.
The Postal Service recognizes that an important part of creating an inclusive workplace is increasing awareness of, and appreciation for, the different cultures and backgrounds of its employees — a spirit exemplified by the observance of Juneteenth.
The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion team’s pages on Blue and LiteBlue offer a list of resources on the holiday, and more background can be found on the website of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.