Biden signs bill making Juneteenth a federal holiday

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden has signed legislation Thursday establishing a new federal holiday commemorating the end of slavery, saying he believes it will go down as one of the greatest honors he has as president.

Joe Biden

President Joe Biden signs the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, in the East Room of the White House, Thursday, June 17, 2021, in Washington. From left, Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif, Rep. Danny Davis, D-Ill., Opal Lee, Sen. Tina Smith, D-Minn., obscured, Vice President Kamala Harris, House Majority Whip James Clyburn of S.C., Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio, Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Biden signed into law a bill to make Juneteenth, or June 19, the 12th federal holiday.

The U.S. government announced Thursday that most federal government employees will observe the new holiday Friday because June 19 falls on Saturday this year.

While some say that while they appreciate the recognition at a time of racial reckoning in America, more is needed to change policies that disadvantage too many of their brethren.

Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas — two months after the Confederacy had surrendered.

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