By: Zachary Lopez (ZachNews):
Sources: The White House, United States House of Representatives and United States Senate (Information):
Washington, District of Columbia: United States President Joe Biden signed on Thursday, June 17th, 2021 the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act making Juneteenth a federal holiday in the United States.
Picture: The White House (Courtesy):
“This is a day of profound weight and profound power, a day in which we remember the moral stain, the terrible toll that slavery took on the country and continues to take,” United States President Joe Biden said during today’s signing ceremony.
On Wednesday, June 16th, 2021, the United States House of Representatives voted 415-14 to make Juneteenth, or June 19th, as the 12th new federal holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the nation
The United States Senate passed the bill a day earlier under a unanimous consent agreement that expedites the process for considering legislation, and took just one senator’s objection to block such agreements.
This is the first new federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was created in 1983.
The new federal holiday commemorates when the last enslaved African Americans learned they were free.
In April 1865, Confederate soldiers surrendered, but word didn’t reach the last enslaved Black people until June 19, when Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to Galveston, Texas.
That was also about two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation freeing slaves in the Southern states.
*** Learn more about the history of Juneteenth at the following website: ***
The vast majority of states recognize Juneteenth as a holiday or have an official observance of the day, and most states hold celebrations.
Juneteenth is a paid holiday for state employees in Texas, New York, Virginia and Washington.
Under the legislation, the federal holiday would be known as Juneteenth National Independence Day.
The United States Office of Personnel Management, which is the human resources office for the federal government, tweeted on Thursday, June 17th, 2021 that most federal employees will observe the new holiday – Juneteenth National Independence Day – on Friday since June 19 falls on a Saturday this year.