Mississippi does not recognize Juneteenth as a state holiday

Mississippi does not recognize Juneteenth as a state holiday
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) -Juneteenth has been a federal holiday since 2021. It is designed to commemorate the end of slavery after the Civil War. That being said, local and state offices were not closed in Mississippi.

The holiday is observed by more than half of the states. While it’s not in Mississippi, Rep. Earle Banks explains that it’s not for a lack of trying.

“In this building my bill died, several other people had bills to die to say, hey, we need to celebrate, because so much of Mississippi was based on slavery,” explained Banks. “These people up here don’t understand what we have done, what our ancestors did to build this state to what it is.”

A total of nine bills died on the 2024 legislative calendar that were seeking to make Juneteenth a state holiday. Sen. Hillman Frazier signed onto a bill with several others that would have replaced the Confederate Memorial Holiday with Juneteenth.

“We celebrate the Fourth of July, and that’s something we all embrace,” noted Sen. Frazier. “And I think that the general public is beginning to embrace the Juneteenth Celebration because it is a liberation day for all of America.”

We asked Frazier what he would say to state workers who had to request the day off if they chose to celebrate.

“Be patient,” Frazier said. “Because help is on the way. I think that we’re going to pass it at some point, just a matter of getting your bed on the same page at the same time. It took us a while to get on the same page for the Martin Luther King holiday bill, but we got there. We’re going to get there for the Juneteenth celebrate celebration also.”

Several cities and organizations around the magnolia state have started the tradition of celebrating Juneteenth.

“If you read your history of Mississippi and really understand the real history of Mississippi, not in the watered down versions of what it was like and what it was, and what it is and what it can be, that we would celebrate this type of holiday,” said Banks.

Those two lawmakers and others we spoke with off camera say they’ll keep filing those bills to try and add Juneteenth to the state holiday calendar.

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