Here are states that do not recognize Juneteenth as a federal holiday

People attend Juneteenth celebrations in the Harlem neighborhood of New York. Photo: AP/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez

As Juneteenth approaches in the U.S. to commemorate the end of slavery, many states are yet to adopt it as a paid public holiday two years after it was signed into law as a federal holiday. Also known as Emancipation Day, Freedom Day, and Black Independence Day in the United States, Juneteenth, which is celebrated on June 19 every year, commemorates the freedom of some 250,000 enslaved people in Texas in 1865, nearly 160 years ago.

Although it is not the day slavery legally ended, it is the oldest known celebration honoring the end of slavery in the United States. Enslaved African Americans in Texas were freed more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed. In 2021, President Joe Biden signed bipartisan legislation that established Juneteenth as a Federal holiday. Still, several states are yet to recognize it as a paid holiday, saying that it would be too costly to give state employees another paid day off. Such states also argue that not many people know about Juneteenth or celebrate it.

Meanwhile, a recent Gallup poll shows otherwise. 17% of those surveyed in the poll said they know “a lot” about Juneteenth, 11% said they know “nothing at all”, 42% said they know “some,” and 29% said “a little bit”. Actually, Juneteenth became well known in 2020 following the murder of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. Still, while all 50 states have at some point commemorated or observed Juneteenth, 25 states have yet to adopt Juneteenth as a paid public holiday, according to the Congressional Research Service.


A state holiday bill was introduced but opponents argued that Florida’s Emancipation Day which falls on May 20 should be recognized instead of Juneteenth. In effect, there is debate over what day to commemorate — June 19 or the day slaves in Florida got to know they were free.


Proposals to recognize Juneteenth as a paid holiday for state employees also failed in Mississippi, where the birthdays of Martin Luther King Jr. and Confederate General Robert E. Lee are treated as a shared paid state holiday, The Pew Charitable Trusts’ report said.


In May this year, some lawmakers said they were hopeful that Juneteenth would be made a permanent holiday in Alabama. A bill was introduced in the Alabama House of Representatives some weeks ago that would make Juneteenth a permanent state holiday. Last year, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey authorized Juneteenth as a holiday for state workers and it remains to be known if that will be a permanent policy.

The following are the other states that do not recognize Juneteenth as a federal holiday:











New Hampshire

New Mexico

North Carolina

North Dakota



Rhode Island

South Carolina


West Virginia



Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: June 10, 2023


Must Read

Connect with us

Join our Mailing List to Receive Updates