President Biden Signs Bill Into Law Making Juneteenth A Federal Holiday

 President Joe Biden signed a bill on Thursday afternoon establishing a new federal holiday commemorating the end of slavery.


The bill reached Biden’s desk after the House on Wednesday voted 415-14 to make Juneteenth, or June 19th, the country’s twelfth federal holiday. Juneteenth marks the date in 1985 when a Union general told a group of slaves in Texas that they had been granted freedom about two-and-a-half years prior with President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.

“Juneteenth marks both a long, hard night of slavery and subjugation and the promise of a brighter morning to come,’ Biden said during the signing ceremony in the East Room of the White House. ‘This is a day, in my view, of profound weight and profound power. A day in which we remember the moral stain, terrible toll that slavery took on the country and continues to take.’


Vice President Kamala Harris, the country’s first vice president who is black and a woman, said that designating Juneteenth as a federal holiday ‘makes an important statement’.

The Senate earlier passed the legislation with a unanimous consent agreement that expedites consideration for the bill.

Juneteenth is the first new federal holiday in the US since 1983 when Martin Luther King Jr Day was signed into law.

‘Our federal holidays are purposely few in number and recognize the most important milestones,’ Democratic Representative Carolyn Maloney of New York said. ‘I cannot think of a more important milestone to commemorate than the end of slavery in the United States.’

Federal employees will begin taking Juneteenth off in 2021. It will be observed on Friday because Juneteenth lands on a Saturday this year, the US Office of Personnel Management tweeted.


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