Juneteenth will be a college holiday

Dear Williams faculty, students and staff,

Tomorrow marks an important day in our nation’s history. On June 19, 1865, the emancipation of African people enslaved in America was extended into Texas, the last Confederate state to refuse to comply with the Emancipation Proclamation.

Black people in America came to celebrate the day as Juneteenth, Liberation Day or Freedom Day. Joining a movement among organizations around the country, Williams will honor Juneteenth by making it an official college holiday tomorrow. (Essential staff scheduled to work tomorrow will hear from their supervisors separately about options.)

Juneteenth marked the formal end of slavery in America—not by any means the end of racism. One hundred and fifty-five years later, the holiday arrives during a time of intense focus on racism’s persistence, both nationally and at Williams. So this is a time, too, to recognize the many people and programs who are helping advance the causes of freedom and equity, on which the future of our country and our college depends.