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NFL Will Now Observe the Day Slavery Ended in America as Official Holiday

The NFL announced that it will recognize Juneteenth (June 19th) as a company holiday. Juneteenth celebrates the effective end of slavery in the United States. While the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect on January 1, 1863, it wasn't enforced in every state until June 19, 1865, when Union troops, under the command of Major General Gordon Granger, ordered Texas to grant all slaves their freedom.

"This year, as we work together as a family and in our communities to combat the racial injustices that remain deeply rooted into the fabric of our society, the NFL will observe Juneteenth on Friday, June 19th as a recognized holiday and our league offices will be closed," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. "It is a day to reflect on our past, but more importantly, consider how each one of us can continue to show up and band together to work toward a better future."

Goodell said that June 19 does more than just recognize the end of slavery, it "symbolizes freedom," which is something we are still fighting for today.

"The power of this historical feat in our country's blemished history is felt each year, but there is no question that the magnitude of this event weighs even more heavily today in the current climate," Goodell said in his statement Friday. "Juneteenth not only marks the end of slavery in the United States, but it also symbolizes freedom -- a freedom that was delayed, and brutally resisted; and though decades of progress followed, a freedom for which we must continue to fight."