DePaul University Newsline > Sections > Campus and Community > DePaul University adding Juneteenth as university holiday starting June 2023

DePaul University adding Juneteenth as university holiday starting June 2023


​​We are pleased to share Juneteenth, the nation's oldest celebration of the end of slavery, will become a DePaul University holiday, beginning in June 2023.

Juneteenth dates to June 19, 1865, when — two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation and two months after the Civil War ended — 250,000 slaves in Texas were freed by order of U.S. Army troops newly landed at Galveston.

“Emancipation Day" was celebrated one year later by African Americans in Texas, and an annual tradition was born, with Juneteenth — a portmanteau of “June" and “19th" — eventually taking hold as the familiar name. Official commemorations would not become common in Texas until the 1980s, then gradually expanded to other parts of the United States.

On June 17, 2021, the U.S. government made Juneteenth the 11th federal holiday. Days later, DePaul University announced the addition of Juneteenth to the academic calendar “as soon as practicable."

This move was affirmed this spring by Faculty Council, which agreed to seek steps ensuring that all course contact-hours requirements are met.

The significance of Juneteenth lies in the fact that, two years after the passing of the Emancipation Proclamation, slavery was still in practice in the United States. The insidious nature of institutionalized racism and oppression is that abuses can still occur when freedoms are not safeguarded. We honor and remember the day when all were freed and must continue the fight against racism.