- Ann Arbor Public Schools
- Superintendent's Messages
June 19, 2023 - Juneteenth Observance
Juneteenth commemorates the emancipation of enslaved African Americans, and is the anniversary of the day in 1865 when the news of emancipation arrived for the last group of enslaved Black Americans, freed by Union troops in Texas.
Deriving its name from combining June and nineteenth, this day importantly marks the end of slavery in the United States. Historian Dr. Mitch Kachun, professor of African American history at Western Michigan University, considers that celebrations of the end of slavery have three goals: "to celebrate, to educate, and to agitate;” you may read more about the rich heritage of emancipation and freedom celebrations here.
The Juneteenth federal holiday became official on June 17, 2021; I am proud to share that in the Ann Arbor Public Schools we formally honor Juneteenth, observed on June 19th, as an official holiday for all Ann Arbor Public Schools employees.
For those employees whose contracts include work on this day, Juneteenth is a designated holiday. The federal holiday of Juneteenth will be observed in the district each year moving forward and noted on annual district calendars accordingly.
We are excited about the many commemorations and celebrations being held this year in our community, throughout the state of Michigan and across our nation. The Ann Arbor NAACP is holding its 29th Annual Juneteenth Celebration & Community Unity Walk on Saturday, June 17, 2023. The Unity Walk begins at 10 AM at Fuller Park and culminates with a celebration at Wheeler Park from Noon to 6 PM. There will be entertainment, food, youth activities, a cake walk and much more. Ypsilanti’s Third Annual Juneteenth Celebration takes place June 16 to 18 at the South Huron Parking Lot.
Wishing you all the best at this time of reflection and celebrations on this important Juneteenth weekend.
Jeanice Kerr Swift
Superintendent of Schools
Ann Arbor Public Schools