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What Is Juneteenth? What's Open and Closed?

It became a federal holiday after President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act in 2021.
UPDATED JAN 22, 2024
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Sylvia Plachy
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Sylvia Plachy

Juneteenth marked the end of slavery of African-Americans in America. It derives its name from combining the month of June and the date19th, which falls on a Monday this year. It became a federal holiday after President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act in 2021.

The holiday commemorates the eventful day when a quarter million enslaved Black people finally got their freedom after Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger and roughly 2,000 Union Troops arrived at Galveston Bay, Texas on June 19, 1865. 

This came nearly three years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation to end slavery in the US.

Here's a look at what's open and closed on Juneteenth 2023.


Postal Services

The United States Post Office will be shut and not deliver mail Monday. UPS location will be open, including its ground and express critical services. FedX has also announced that it will be functional as normal.


Major retailers and grocery chains will be open on Juneteenth. Walmart and Target will be open during normal hours. However, it's advisable to check if your local businesses will be operational on Monday. 

Financial Services

Juneteenth is a banking holiday. This means that major banks like Bank Of America, Chase, and Wells Fargo will be closed. It's important to note that even banks that remained open last year on this day, will be closed this Monday. 

Wall Street

Both Nasdaq and New York Stock Exchange will not be trading on Juneteenth.

Schools, offices, and Federal offices will remain closed on Juneteenth. 


The day was first celebrated in Texas, on June 19, 1866. It marked the first anniversary of the day African-Americans gained their freedom.The holiday is often celebrated with prayer meetings and people sing spiritual songs and wear new clothes to represent their freedom, as per Britannica.

Pexels | RDNE Stock project
Pexels | RDNE Stock project

The first Africans were brought to the colonies of what would be the United States by the Portuguese. While most enslaved workers worked in the field, many assisted the owners of the plantations in their homes as maids, cooks, and nannies. As enslaved people became more and more in demand in the South, the slave trade that spanned from Africa to the colonies became a source of economic wealth.

Pexels | Mark Stebnicki
Pexels | Mark Stebnicki

The cotton slavery that existed from the end of the 18th century to the beginning of the Civil War, was a fullfledged business, as reported by Vox. Thousand of young enslaved men and women were forced into the production of cotton that would later fuel global industrialization. These slaves were forced to maintain America's most exported commodity. 

"The slavery economy of the US South is deeply tied financially to the North, to Britain, to the point that we can say that people who were buying financial products in these other places were in effect owning slaves, and were extracting money from the labor of enslaved people," says Edward E. Baptist, a historian at Cornell University. 

Despite the openly discussed brutal history of plantations, they are not always seen as the violent places that they were. The history of plantation slavery is not exclusive to the Americas. They were found in Africa and Asia, however, that is a topic for another day.