Which States Do Not Celebrate Juneteenth

Juneteenth is the longest-running African American holiday and it commemorates the abolition of slavery in the United States.

It is an abbreviation for “June Nineteenth,” the day in 1865 when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas to take control of the state and ensure the freedom of all enslaved people.

The troops arrived two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed. 

On June 17, 2021, President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. signed a bill making Juneteenth a legal public holiday. 


Juneteenth History

President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, during the American Civil War, announcing the freedom of more than three million slaves residing in the Confederate states but slavery had remained relatively unaffected in Texas until  Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, stood on its soil, and delivered General Order No. 3 announcing the end of legalized slavery in Texas and freeing the remaining over 200,000 Black people who were still enslaved in the state.

Texas became the first state to declare Juneteenth a holiday in 1980 and other states followed slowly; Florida adopted a Juneteenth holiday in 1991, Oklahoma in 1994, and Minnesota in 1996. Between 2000 and 2009, 31 states enacted the holiday, and another 13 did so in the decade that followed. The day is now recognized in some form in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

People of African origin have historically celebrated Juneteenth in the United States, as well as in Nigeria, Canada, Jamaica, the United Kingdom, and other nations throughout the world. Juneteenth is also a “symbolic day” for the African American struggle for freedom and equality, as well as a day to celebrate family and community.

The celebration takes place with songs, parades, praises, and festivals marking the emancipation of enslaved Black people. A red, green, and black flag, resembling the Pan-African Flag or the Black Liberation Flag, is typically flown by Black people during the celebration.

The original Juneteenth flag was created by an activist and the founder of the National Juneteenth Celebration Foundation, Ben Haith in 1997.

Do you know you can celebrate Juneteenth by supporting black business marketplace.

List of States that do not Observe Juneteenth as a Paid Holiday

Despite being recognized by the government, some Black activists are beginning to recognize that gaining local support might be more difficult. While every state has recognized Juneteenth as a day of remembrance at some point, 26 states are yet to make it a paid public holiday.

The change from an unofficial holiday to a formal holiday for most federal employees started in Texas, more than a century ago. 50 states and the District of Columbia now either commemorate or observe Juneteenth but 23 states observe it as a permanent paid state holiday. 

The number of states that haven’t made Juneteenth a public holiday is expected to decrease in 2023 as Connecticut will legally recognize it as a state holiday on June 19, 2023. Also, a few other states are considering making the day an official holiday.

The reasons for the delay differ from state to state. In certain regions, this is owing to a slow bureaucracy while in some others, it is owing to disagreements over when the holiday should be observed.


The Table below shows the year each state and the District of Columbia  observed Juneteenth as an observance or holiday

S/N State First Year of Recognition First Year of Paid Holiday 
1 Alabama 2011
2 Alaska 2001
3 Arizona 2016
4 Arkansas 2005
5 California 2003
6 Colorado 2004 2022
7 Connecticut 2003 2023
8 Delaware 2000 2022
9 District of Columbia 2003 2021
10 Florida 1991
11 Georgia 2011 2022
12 Hawaii 2021
13 Idaho 2001 2021
14 Illinois 2003 2021
15 Indiana 2010
16 Iowa 2002
17 Kansas 2007
18 Kentucky 2005
19 Louisiana 2003 2022
20 Maine 2011 2022
21 Maryland 2014 2022
22 Massachusetts 2007 2021
23 Michigan 2005 2022
24 Minnesota 1996
25 Mississippi 2010
26 Missouri 2003 2022
27 Montana 2017
28 Nebraska 2009 2022
29 Nevada 2011
30 New Hampshire 2019
31 New Jersey 2004 2021
32 New Mexico 2006 2022
33 New York 2004 2020
34 North Carolina 2007
35 North Dakota 2021
36 Ohio 2006 2021
37 Oklahoma 1914
38 Oregon 2001 2022
39 Pennsylvania 2019
40 Rhode Island 2012
41 South Carolina 2008
42 South Dakota 2020 2022
43 Tennessee 2007
44 Texas 1980 1980
45 Utah 2016 2022
46 Vermont 2007
47 Virginia 2007 2020
48 Washington 2007 2022
49 West Virginia 2008 2021
50 Wisconsin 2009
51 Wyoming 2003

Note: Red highlights the states that are yet to declare Juneteenth a paid holiday.

The lack of a paid holiday in these states might prevent workers from taking time off to mark the celebration of Juneteenth and this reflects the degree to which the state government shows concern and advancement in the fight for racial justice. 

Check here for a list of states that has declared Juneteenth as a public holiday.

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