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Every Monday at 6:42 a.m. and 8:42 a.m., Rob Gilligan provides information on what's happening in the area of regional development in Southeast Missouri. Rob is the President and CEO of the Cape Chamber.

Let's Talk Business: Juneteenth Becomes America's 12th Federal Holiday

Clayton Hester/KRCU

It is the first new federal holiday since Martin Luther King, Jr. day was established in 1983.

Last Thursday, President Biden signed legislation into law making Juneteenth, or June 19th, the 12th federal holiday. Juneteenth recognizes when Union soldiers delivered the news of freedom to slaves in Galveston, Texas – some two months after the Confederacy had surrendered and more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation.

This new holiday brings opportunity for the area and business community. Let’s look at a few things already in place and explore some additional possibilities.

Visit Cape has an African American History Driving Tour in place which guides people to major historic locations and sites and provides narratives as to their importance. Included are the Common Pleas Courthouse, Ivers Square, Fairmount Cemetery, the site of the former Lincoln and then John Cobb School, and several churches.

One City just held its second annual Juneteenth celebration this past weekend. Along with several related performance events, there were many culturally diverse businesses displaying their products and services. These included Tru-Que, Rufus Red Hots, 20 N. Pacific, The Corner Grocery Store, Be Chosen Academy, and many others.

And there is increasing opportunity with cultural tourism. Cultural tourism is a type of tourism that allows the tourist to participate in local cultural activities, like festivals and rituals. As a result, the tourist can enjoy a genuine cultural exchange with the locals.

John Mehner is the former President and CEO of the Cape Chamber.
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