ALBANY, N.Y. (WWNY) - Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed an executive order recognizing Juneteenth as a holiday for state employees.
Juneteenth is observed on June 19 and commemorates the emancipation of slaves in the U.S.
Cuomo said he will propose legislation next year to make it a permanent state holiday.
He called it “a day we should all reflect upon” and “a day that is especially relevant in this moment in history.”
Several states already observe Juneteenth.
Texas was the first to make it a state holiday in 1980. Virginia’s governor proposed making Juneteenth a state holiday there earlier this week.
President Abraham Lincoln first issued the Emancipation Proclamation declaring all slaves free in Confederate territory on September 22, 1862, but the news took time to travel.
June 19, 1865 is the date when word of the proclamation reached African Americans in Texas.