Editorial Roundup: Alabama

Dothan Eagle. June 13, 2022.

Editorial: Juneteenth

When June 20 rolls around next week, Alabama’s state employees will enjoy a day off. State offices will be closed because Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey authorized Juneteenth Day as a state holiday, with the June 19 holiday moved from Sunday to Monday, June 20.

It’s a positive move for which the governor should be commended. Juneteenth has long been recognized informally to celebrate the end of slavery, and was authorized as a federal holiday last year. Several states and many municipalities have established Juneteenth as a holiday.

However, Alabama’s Juneteenth holiday is an anomaly, as the authorization is temporary, established by gubernatorial proclamation. To become a permanent state holiday, legislative action is necessary.

Alabama lawmakers must initiate and pass this authorization at its first opportunity. While Juneteenth has long been a day of celebration for African-American Alabamians, the end of slavery in the United States stands as a victory for humanity, and as such should be celebrated by every American and every Alabamian.

Lawmakers might also revisit our state’s entire schedule of holidays. Considering initiatives that will remove the names of Confederate officers from military installations and other public entities, it’s time to reconsider Alabama’s three Confederate-related state holidays – Confederate Memorial Day in April, the birthday of Confederate President Jefferson Davis in June, and the joint holiday of Robert E. Lee Day and Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in January.