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NJ bills make Juneteenth holiday, abolish freeholder title

Friday is Juneteenth – learn the history behind the holiday
Posted at 10:56 PM, Jul 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-30 22:56:00-04

TRENTON, N.J. — New Jersey lawmakers have passed two bills aimed at addressing racial injustice, one making Juneteenth a state holiday and another abolishing the county government title of freeholder, which alludes to a time when Black people and women could not own property and hold office.

The measures passed the Democrat-led Legislature and head next to Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy, who earlier indicated he supports both bills.

Juneteenth marks June 19, 1865, when word reached enslaved African Americans in Galveston, Texas, that the Civil War had ended and they were free.

New Jersey is the only state in the country to use the title freeholder for county government officials.

Under the bill, they will be referred to as commissioners.