Former Gov. Deval Patrick signed a proclamation to recognize Juneteenth in 2007. But it goes untaught in school curriculums, and today, many in the state are just learning of the date when enslaved Afrian Americans in Texas were freed from bondage, two years after President Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation.

Under the Radar's Callie Crossley told Boston Public Radio on Friday that this year's commemoration of the day comes at a "fraught point, and just as people are trying to heal and respond to the horribleness of George Floyd's death."

"I think as people are starting to unpack the history, some of the not so pleasant history of African Americans in this country, they were looking for something that was different, that had a promise of something not quite as heavy," she said. "I don't think enough can be said about the revelations of history that are coming to a lot of people that just had no sense of that history at all."

Gov. Charlie Baker issued a proclamation to commemorate Juneteenth this year, and a bill has been filed in the legislature to formalize it as a state holiday.

"It's been around, there have been plenty of annual celebrations," Crossley said. "It's not new in Massachusetts, but it is to a lot of people."