What's open and closed on Juneteenth 2024

Here's what to know about the federal holiday and what it mean for U.S. workers on June 19 this year.

NBC Universal, Inc.

Americans will celebrate Juneteenth on Wednesday, marking the day when the last enslaved people in the United States learned they were free.

For generations, Black Americans have recognized the end of one of the darkest chapters in U.S. history with joy, in the form of parades, street festivals, musical performances or cookouts.

The U.S. government was slow to embrace the occasion — it was only in 2021 that President Joe Biden signed a bill passed by Congress to set aside Juneteenth as a federal holiday.

Here's what to know about this federal holiday and what it means for U.S. workers on June 19 this year.

What is Juneteenth?

The celebration started with the freed enslaved people of Galveston, Texas. Although the Emancipation Proclamation freed enslaved people in the South in 1863, it could not be enforced in many places until after the end of the Civil War in 1865.

Laura Smalley, freed from a plantation near Bellville, Texas, remembered in a 1941 interview that her former master had gone to fight in the Civil War and came home without telling his slaves what had happened.

“Old master didn’t tell, you know, they was free,” Smalley said at the time. “I think now they say they worked them, six months after that. Six months. And turn them loose on the 19th of June. That’s why, you know, we celebrate that day.”

Union Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger and his troops arrived at Galveston on June 19, 1865, with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. That was more than two months after Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant in Virginia.

Granger delivered General Order No. 3, which said: “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor.”

The next year, the now-free people started celebrating Juneteenth in Galveston. Its observance has continued around the nation and the world since. Events include concerts, parades and readings of the Emancipation Proclamation.

Juneteenth marks the day in 1865 when the Emancipation Proclamation was brought to enslaved people in Texas — more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln issued it. After Juneteenth became a federal holiday, more corporations got involved in promoting and celebrating it — though not all efforts have been well-received. Dartmouth history professor Matthew Delmont joins LX News to discuss celebrating the holiday respectfully.

Why is it called Juneteenth?

The term Juneteenth is a portmanteau of the words "June" and "nineteenth." The holiday has also been called Juneteenth Independence Day or Freedom Day.

Is the post office open on Juneteenth?

The U.S. Postal Service will be closed on June 19, and there will be no mail deliveries.

Will I receive my UPS or FedEx package?

UPS and FedEx pickup and delivery services will be available and their store locations will be open on June 19, according to the companies' websites.

Will banks be open on Juneteenth?

The Federal Reserve System and the New York Stock Exchange will be closed on Wednesday, June 19.

Since most financial institutions follow the Fed's holiday schedule, the vast majority of banks are expected to be closed on Wednesday as well.

Are government offices closed on Juneteenth?

All federal agencies will be closed on Wednesday, including the DMV and Social Security Administration.

Will federal employees get the day off?

Most Federal, state and city employees get the off. Many private employers give workers the day off to observe the holiday.

Are business open on Juneteenth?

Most private businesses, including national retailers, will be open on Juneteenth.

Contact Us