POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI) - With President Joe Biden formally declaring Juneteenth a federal holiday on Thursday, this year's Juneteenth celebration in Pocatello had a special feel.
The Pocatello Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) celebrated Juneteenth with an afternoon picnic the Pocatello Senior Activity Center.
"To declare it a Federal holiday was really exciting news," said NAACP member Dr. James Yizar. "It meant that we had to do a lot in terms of the NAACP and to get out the word and the celebration about everything. But we think we did a good job."
Popularly known as Emancipation Day, Juneteenth represents events that transpired on June 19, 1865, where Union Major General Gordon Granger took command of the 2,000 troops in Galveston, Texas, and then read General Order No. 3, informing Texans that all enslaved persons were henceforth free, effectively ending slavery.
Yizar says making Juneteenth a federal holiday will help educate the public on what it helps represent.
"We hope not only everybody that we see and associate with all the time is aware of what Juneteenth is, but the kids coming up will know and understand what Juneteenth is and what it represents and that work still needs to be done." Yizar said.