The national holiday of the 19th is now the law of the United States, marks the end of slavery Black Lives Matter News


President Joe Biden signed a law that made Juneteenth a federal holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States as the nation continues to make changes amid a racial calculation.

“Today we consecrate Juneteenth for what it should be, for what it should be: a national holiday,” said Biden, who returned on Wednesday from his first trip as president to Europe.

“This is a very important moment in American history. By turning Juneteenth into a federal holiday, all Americans can feel the power of this day and learn from our history and celebrate our progress, ”Biden said.

Biden, flanked by Vice President Kamala Harris, signed the bill in the White House on Thursday and announced it on June 19 colloquially Junetenth, national holiday.

The children celebrated June 19 near the White House in Washington in 2020, to commemorate the day 1865 that enslaved blacks in Galveston, Texas, who knew they had been freed from bondage. [File: Susan Walsh/AP Photo]

“Today is a day of celebration,” said Harris, the nation’s first black vice president. “It’s not just a day of pride, but also to reaffirm ourselves and rededicate ourselves to action.”

Juneteenth commemorates when the last enslaved American slaves learned that they were free after the U.S. Civil War between Confederate states that had slaves in the south and Union-free states in the north.

Confederate soldiers surrendered in April 1865, but the news did not reach the last enslaved black people until June 19, when Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to Galveston, Texas.

Two and a half years earlier, President Abraham Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing American slaves in 1863.

U.S. presidential historian Michael Beschloss praised Biden’s signing in a tweet.

It is the first creation of a national holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was established in 1983 to recognize the murdered civil rights leader.

At the signing ceremony, Biden bent over on one knee and hugged Opal Lee, a 94-year-old Texan who has spent his entire life making Juneteenth a national holiday.

“You just received a very special recognition from the President of the United States,” Harris quipped in applause among dignitaries gathered in the White House for signing the bill.

Known as the “Second Independence Day” of the United States, Juneteenth is an important holiday for African Americans and is celebrated in black communities in Texas and the United States with prayer breakfasts, civic events, family reunions, and barbecues.

The bill passed the Senate by unanimous consent earlier in the week and fired on Wednesday in the House of Representatives with a vote of 415 to 14. It had been defended for years by black lawmakers in the U.S. Congress led by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, a Texas Democrat who is black.

Juneteenth has gained added importance amid the new U.S. calculation with its history of racism and widespread protests following the death of George Floyd last year, a black man killed by a white police officer.

Most U.S. states already recognize Juneteenth as a holiday or have an official celebration of the day. Juneteenth has been a paid vacation for state employees in Texas, New York, Virginia and Washington, DC.

Under the new law signed by Biden, federal holidays will be known as National Youth Independence Day, marking the independence of African Americans from slavery.

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