Columbia Will Recognize Juneteenth Again This Year

Let us all reflect upon, honor, and celebrate the events, people, and values enshrined in this important day in our nation’s history.

Lee C. Bollinger
April 26, 2021

I am writing to say that Columbia University will continue the tradition this year, as we did last year, of observing Juneteenth with a day off on Friday, June 18, 2021, for all students, faculty, and staff.

Juneteenth is one of the oldest holidays commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. It recalls the events of June 19, 1865, when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, to spread the word that the American Civil War had ended and that enslaved Black Americans were free. The appearance of these armed forces, in the remote region of the former Confederacy, came two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation and two months after the surrender of Confederate General Robert E. Lee to Union General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox.

Please take the day to commemorate the events of Juneteenth in the ways that are most meaningful to you and the nation. Certainly, this is an opportunity to recognize where we have come from and where we need to go to realize the just society we seek, but have not attained.