Gov. Jim Doyle today signed into law Senate Bill 170, a bill that designates June 19, Juneteenth Day, as a legal holiday.
The governor was joined by Rev. Ronald Myers, national chairman of Juneteenth Day, and Mac Weddle, the executive director of the Northcott House and local president of Juneteenth Day, for the signing at Northcott Neighborhood Center in Milwaukee.
“Milwaukee has long celebrated Juneteenth Day and I am proud that Wisconsin is moving forward to recognize this important holiday across the state,” Doyle said. “Juneteenth Day marks a historic milestone in our nation’s history and celebrates the freedom that unites all Americans.”
Juneteenth Day is the oldest known celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. On June 19, 1865, slaves in Texas first received word that all slaves in the U.S. had been freed by President Lincoln. Milwaukee first celebrated Juneteenth Day in the 1970s.