Statement on Juneteenth as an Official Holiday in Atlanta Public Schools

Atlanta Public Schools Juneteenth 2021 graphic


(Friday, June 18, 2021) Yesterday, when President Biden signed legislation making Juneteenth a federal holiday, he said it was one of the greatest honors he will have as president.

And so likewise for me, today is one of the greatest honors I will have as the proud superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools. In honor of Juneteenth and in alignment with its status as a federal holiday, APS is adopting Juneteenth as an official district holiday. Beginning with the 2021-2022 school year and beyond, all APS schools and offices will be closed, and all district activities cancelled, for the Juneteenth holiday.

The day’s origin is rooted in the fact that even though the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed all enslaved people in the United States, was formally issued on January 1, 1863, and the Confederate Army surrendered to U.S. soldiers on April 9, 1865, the news took a while to reach many areas of our country. On June 19, 1865, the news finally reached Texas, and that day became known as Juneteenth.

I want to thank the Atlanta Board of Education for its support of this historic decision, which is in keeping with our city’s history of championing freedom and liberty for all. I hope that each and every one of us takes time to reflect on the great significance and reverence of this day. It is also my hope that, moving forward, we continue to learn about and acknowledge our history, celebrate the progress that has been made, pay homage to those who sacrificed to bring us to this point 156 years later, and dedicate ourselves to continuing in our journey to being that more perfect union.

Dr. Lisa Herring