US Congress Passes Bill Making Juneteenth a Federal Holiday

Under the recently passed legislation, the new federal holiday will be known as Juneteenth National Independence Day.

Juneteenth
Source: Axios

The United States Congress passed a bill making Junteenth or June 19th a Federal Holiday, on Wednesday. The US House passed the bill following the Senate. It was then sent to President Joe Biden for his assent.

The Senate passed the bill on June 15 in a unanimous agreement which expedited the process for considering legislation.

Most states in the US have Juneteenth as a holiday, or hold observance for the event in history. In Texas, New York, Virginia and Washington D.C. it is a paid holiday for state employees.

Under the recently passed legislation, the new federal holiday will be known as Juneteenth National Independence Day.

History of Juneteenth

In January 1865, Congress which was part of the US Govt., legally abolished slavery by passing the 13th amendment. The law, however, hadn’t yet been ratified by the Senate until December of that year.

The Senate is the part of the US Govt. which checks laws.  By the end of the year, slavery was finally outlawed.

On June 19, 1865, US Army General Gordon Grainger, told the state of Texas that the Emancipation Proclamation made two years ago by President Abraham Lincoln, was coming into effect in the state.

The declaration by General Grainger is celebrated as it finally brought the practice to an end in the last state using slaves.

The first Juneteenth celebration took place in Texas in 1866. In a few years, descendants of those who had been enslaved became part of the celebration. Many families even went to Galveston to commemorate the event. Different communities developed different traditions over the years and these followed them when they migrated to different parts of the country.

Read: The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act Passed by the House Lawmakers

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