The House of Representatives passed a bill on Wednesday to make Juneteenth Independence Day a new federal holiday, with only President Joe Biden’s signature remaining to make it official.
According to The Washington Examiner, “Juneteenth commemorates the end of slavery in the United States marked by Major General Gordon Granger arriving in Galveston Bay, Texas, with 2,000 Union troops to issue an order on June 19, 1865, that said ‘all slaves are free’ under the Emancipation Proclamation.”
President Abraham Lincoln outlawed slavery in 1862 to go into effect the next year. However, many people living in Confederate states remained enslaved until 1865.
The bill previously passed in the Senate with a unanimous vote.
The bill was previously introduced in the Senate in 2020 but was blocked due to concerns about the added costs of creating a new federal holiday.
The momentum to support Juneteenth as a federal holiday has increased following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in 2020. The controversial death spurred nationwide protests to fight racism and policy brutality.
Texas was the first state to observe Juneteenth as a state holiday, and many other states already commemorate the day in some form. The new bill will make June 19th the nation’s newest federal holiday, offering a new level of remembrance to a monumental change in America’s history.