New York City marked Juneteenth, a year-old federal holiday commemorating the final end of slavery two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed, with a tribute in lights and ceremony.
Mayor Eric Adams announced the city would illuminate some 19 buildings including City Hall, in red, black and green, the colors of the Pan-African flag in honor of the holiday. Buildings will be lit Sunday night, the day of the official holiday, and Monday, the day the holiday is being observed. This is also the first year city workers will observe Juneteenth as a paid-holiday, he noted.
“Today is a moment to remember and celebrate the countless contributions of Black Americans to our country, while simultaneously recognizing the many sacrifices and hardships our community has faced,” Adams said in a statement. “I hope all New Yorkers will join with me in acknowledging the freedom Black Americans were denied for far too long,” he added.
Adams was scheduled to attend Juneteenth celebrations in Central Park and at Roy Wilkins Park in Queens, and at CitiField where he was scheduled to throw out the ceremonial first pitch.
President Joe Biden officially made Juneteenth a federal holiday last year.
The holiday commemorates June 19th, 1865, when Union troops marched into Galveston, Texas to free slaves who were still being held two years after the end of the Civil War. The day is now celebrated across the country as a day of hope for a future that is fully free.
In addition to City Hall, five other city buildings and 18 New York City sites will be lit up red, black and green starting Sunday and Monday at sundown:
- Bronx Borough Hall: 851 Grand Concourse, Bronx, NY 10451
- The David N. Dinkins Manhattan Municipal Building: 1 Centre St., New York, NY 10007
- Queens Borough Hall: 120-55 Queens Blvd., Queens, NY 11424
- Staten Island Borough Hall: 10 Richmond Terr., Staten Island, NY 10301
- DSNY Salt Shed Complex: 336 Spring St., New York, NY 10013
Other New York City sites:
- 30 Rockefeller Plaza
- Bloomberg Tower
- The Empire State Building
- Javits Center
- Luna Park in Coney Island
- Madison Square Garden
- The National September 11 Memorial Museum
- One Bryant Park
- SUMMIT One Vanderbilt
- One World Observatory
- Pier 17 at the Seaport
- Sven LIC