President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law Thursday, making June 19 the 12th federal holiday and giving national recognition to a day commemorating emancipation.
The President signed the bill to make Juneteenth, or June 19, the 12th federal holiday. The House voted 415-14 on Wednesday to send the bill to Biden, while the Senate passed the bill unanimously the day before.
“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,” Biden said.
Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers informed enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas — two months after the Confederacy had surrendered that they were free. That was also about 2 1/2 years after the Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves in the Southern states.
Although the holiday will be observed for the roughly two million employees of the federal government, it is unclear how many states or private employers will recognize the holiday.