BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Governor Charlie Baker signed a bill on Friday designating Juneteenth as a state holiday in Massachusetts.
Gov. Baker said the bill establishes "Juneteenth Independence Day as an annual state holiday on June 19th, in order to recognize the continued need to ensure racial freedom and equality."
Juneteenth has been celebrated as a day of freedom since 1865, when the last enslaved African-Americans in Texas were proclaimed free, three years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed.
The bill signed by Baker on Friday also approved more than $1 billion in certain COVID-19 spending for the Commonwealth, in anticipation of federal reimbursement.
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