Mayor Walt Maddox issued a proclamation at Tuesday night's city council meeting, declaring June 19 will be officially recognized as "Juneteenth in Tuscaloosa," giving municipal employees the day off later this month.

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In a Wednesday news release from the city, a spokesperson said Juneteenth commemorates the emancipation of enslaved African Americans in the U.S. and originated in Galveston, Texas in 1865.

President Joe Biden declared Juneteenth as a federal holiday on June 17, 2021.

Maddox made a similar move last year, but said the proclamation was re-issued this year to "underscore its importance" in 2022.

The release stated the city will observe Juneteenth as a holiday for employees on Monday, June 20. The addition was proposed by Mayor Maddox as a part of the budget process for the 2022 fiscal year and voted on by the City Council last September.

"Tonight is a special night where we recognize Juneteenth," Maddox said during the meeting. "I'm very proud that this city council used part of its budget passed in September to approve Juneteenth as an official holiday for City of Tuscaloosa employees."

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