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West Virginia To Mark Juneteenth As A State Holiday For The First Time

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia will mark Juneteenth for the first time as a state holiday this year with a virtual performance from Montell Jordan. The R&B singer-turned-pastor is known for his 1995 pop hit "This Is How We Do It."

The holiday on June 19 celebrates the day in 1865 that all enslaved Black people learned they had been freed from bondage.

West Virginia's Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs announced the programming for the day on Thursday. The live-streamed event will feature over a dozen musicians, dancers and poets from across the state.

"We are absolutely thrilled to have Montell Jordan as the event's headline performer," Jill Upson, director of the office, said in a statement. "He is providing 30 minutes of entertainment during the livestream, which is beyond exciting."

Jordan's hit was top of the Billboard Hot 100 list for several weeks. He left the music industry in 2010 to become a pastor in Georgia.

The West Virginia legislature recognized the holiday as Juneteenth Day, also known as Emancipation Day, during its winter session.

(Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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