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Juneteenth was finally (and deservingly) recognized as a federal holiday, ESSENCE reported.
Vice President Kamala Harris led a monumental bill signing ceremony at the White House where President Joe Biden officially made Juneteenth a federal holiday on Wednesday, June 16.
“We are gathered here in a house built by enslaved people,” said Harris in the article. “We are footsteps away from where President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. And we are here to witness President Joe Biden establish Juneteenth as a national holiday.”
The ceremony in the East Room had almost every member of the Congressional Black Caucus and dozens of bipartisan lawmakers from the House and Senate, according to the article.
On June 19, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger of the Union Army arrived in Galveston, Texas, spread the news of freedom for the state’s enslaved population of 250,000 men, women, and children. However, the news came about two-and-a-half years after Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. The day was first celebrated in the Texas state capital in 1867 on June 19.
“I have to say to you, I’ve only been president for several months, but I think this will go down, for me, as one of the greatest honors I will have as president,” said Biden in the article.
The “Juneteenth National Independence Day Act,” designates Juneteenth National Independence Day as a legal public holiday in America, according to the article. The measure was introduced in the Senate by Ed Markey and in the House by Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), the article added. Data from last summer by the Harris Poll concluded that two-thirds of Americans think Juneteenth should be a national holiday.
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