Some McAlester government facilities will be closed but others will remain open for Monday’s Juneteenth federal holiday.

Juneteenth is officially on Sunday, June 19, but federal offices will be closed on Monday, June 20, to give federal workers a three-day holiday. Also, the U.S. Postal Service will not be making deliveries, as with other federal holidays.

McAlester Mayor John Browne and Economic Development Director Kirk Ridenour said the city of McAlester will be closed Monday in observance of the Juneteenth holiday, except for emergency services.

However, the state of Oklahoma and Pittsburg County governmental offices are not closing Monday and plan on being open.

Pittsburg County Commission Chairman/District 2 Commissioner Kevin Smith said the courthouse will be open because the county’s holiday roster already passed this year follows holidays recognized by the state of Oklahoma and nothing had been passed in Oklahoma recognizing Monday for closure in recognition of Juneteenth.

Several state offices confirmed they will be open Monday, including Assistant Pittsburg County Election Board Secretary Carla Morris at the Pittsburg County Election Board.

Pittsburg County Health Department Administrative Programs Officer Laurie Martin said the county health department will be open Monday as well, and employees at the state’s Pittsburg County Department of Human Services were told to report for duty Monday because the office will be open.

President Joe Biden signed Congressional legislation recognizing Juneteenth a federal holiday on June 18, 2021 — too late for many federal entities recognize it that year. Even the U.S. Postal Service continued deliveries in 2021, which won’t be the case this year.

Juneteenth is a celebration recognizing the freeing of slaves in Texas. Union Major Gordon Granger arrived with soldiers at Galveston Bay, on June 19, 1865, with information that the Civil War was over and all those who were enslaved were free.

After that, Juneteenth began to be celebrated in Texas, then across other states in the U.S.

Contact James Beaty at jbeaty@mcalesternews.com.

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