South Carolina marks Confederate Memorial Day on Tuesday
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC/Gray News/AP) - South Carolina state offices will be closed Tuesday as the state marks Confederate Memorial Day.
The holiday is observed every year in the Palmetto State on May 10. That date is significant for two reasons: On May 10, 1863, Confederate Gen. Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson died and on May 10, 1865, Union forces in Georgia captured Confederate President Jefferson Davis.
South Carolina is among a handful of states in the South with such an official holiday. But other states celebrate the day on different dates. State offices in Alabama and Mississippi closed down for their Confederate Memorial Days late last month.
A bill that would allow state employees to take the Juneteenth holiday or any other day instead of Confederate Memorial Day unanimously passed the South Carolina Senate in March.
The bill began as a proposal to add the Juneteenth celebration on June 19 as a new state holiday.
But instead of adding a 14th holiday, the bill would create a floating holiday that workers could take on Confederate Memorial Day, for Juneteenth or any other day they choose.
The bill remains stuck in a House committee and will likely die when the session ends Thursday.
President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law in June of 2021, making Juneteenth the 11th federal holiday.
Celebrations of Juneteenth, a merging of the words “June” and “nineteenth,” began with the freed slaves of Galveston, Texas. Although the Emancipation Proclamation freed the slaves in the South in 1863, it could not be enforced in many places until after the end of the Civil War in 1865.
Union Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger and his troops arrived at Galveston on June 19, 1865, with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. That was more than two months after Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant in Virginia.
The next year, the now-free people started celebrating Juneteenth in Galveston. Its observance has continued around the nation and the world since.
Copyright 2022 WCSC. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.