BOSTON (WHDH) - Juneteenth commemorates the day the last black people learned they were free from slavery, weeks after the Civil War ended.

In 2021, Congress passed legislation making June 19 a federal holiday. President Joe Biden later signed the bill into law.

Boston community members and city officials gathered to celebrate an early flag-raising for Juneteenth on City Hall Plaza Monday afternoon.

Mayor Michelle Wu spoke Monday on the importance of the holiday.

“Juneteenth is a story about freedom, but it’s also a story about action. It’s one that reminds us that for freedom to truly exist, it’s not enough to be named — it must be lived,” Wu said.

In Massachusetts there are many different ways to celebrate.

The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston is offering free admission, the Harambee Learning and Cultural Center will hold a celebration in Brockton with keynote speakers, music, and entertainment, and the Concord Museum is holding a Juneteenth family program with traditional West African performances.

As Juneteenth is a federal holiday, banks and post offices are closed. Most chain stores and restaurants will be open, including Walmart, Target, Starbucks, and McDonalds.

Even though the post office is closed, UPS and FedEx pickup and delivery services are available.

The National Park Service is waiving all entry fees Wednesday. Although Juneteenth officially became a federal holiday in 2021, this year is the first time it will be a free entry day at U.S. National Parks. While entry will be free, fees will remain in effect for parking and activities like camping and fishing.

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