Juneteenth of Buffalo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday signed legislation officially making Juneteenth, a day commemorating the emancipation of enslaved people in the United States, a New York state holiday.

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

Beginning in 2021, the City of Buffalo will recognize Juneteenth as a holiday, during which city government employees will get a paid day off. Mayor Byron Brown made it official Friday morning, while marking Juneteenth 2020 in MLK Park.

Updated at 3:36 p.m. ET

The weeks since the killing of George Floyd have been a cauldron of outrage, frustration and, at times, violence. But on Friday, Juneteenth brought another emotion to this simmering mixture: the joy of celebration.

City of Buffalo

This year's Juneteenth may spark more demonstrations than celebrations, as tensions remain high after the recent death of George Floyd and other African Americans during encounters with police. Juneteenth historically recalls that day in 1865 when the enslaved flooded the streets of Galveston, TX to celebrate their newly announced freedom. But its 2020 observance also begs a look at systemic racism in its modern form.

File photo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says this Friday, June 19, known as Juneteenth in honor of the end of slavery in the U.S., will be a holiday for state workers. And he says he will work to make it a statewide holiday for 2021.

WBFO file photo / WBFO News

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown announced this morning that City Hall's dome will be lit in red, black and green tonight as well as on June 19th.

Mike Desmond / WBFO News

The 43rd Juneteenth Festival in MLK Park had beautiful weather to celebrate the day after the Civil War when news of the end of the war and of freedom for slaves reached a far corner of Texas.

Mike Desmond/WBFO News

The annual Juneteenth Festival in Martin Luther King Park enjoyed two good days of hot, steamy weather, though Sunday's rain did wash out some of the program. The wet burst did little to dampen the enthusiasm of festival organizers.

Mike Desmond/WBFO

An annual celebration of African-American culture and history will be held this weekend at Martin Luther King Park.

WBFO's Mike Desmond

It was a beautiful weekend for the Juneteenth Festival and the public responded by turning out in large numbers in Martin Luther King Park.

Mike Desmond / WBFO News

The Buffalo branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People celebrated 100 years of activism, along with the 150th anniversary of Juneteenth on Sunday night.

It is a very busy weekend for festivals and events in Buffalo.

Mike Desmond/wbfo news

Large crowds turned out for two big weekend festivals: Juneteenth and Allentown.

WBFO News by photo Mike Desmond

Sunday's weather started out poor, but it finished well, leading to large crowds at Buffalo's annual Juneteenth Festival in Martin Luther King Park.

Hot, humid weather didn't keep the crowds away from Martin Luther King Park on Sunday for the annual Juneteenth celebration.

In 1865, slaves in Galveston, Texas learned they had been freed months before but the news had traveled slowly in the chaos of the end of the Civil War.

When the word arrived that June, the newly-freed celebrated their Juneteenth and have continued the celebration to this day.