President Joe Biden signed legislation Thursday making Juneteenth, which is June 19, a national holiday commemorating the end of slavery in America.
“I’ve only been president for several months, but I think this will go down for me as one of the greatest honors I will have had as president,” Biden said at the signing ceremony for the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act. “Not because I did it. You did it, Democrats and Republicans.”
Federal lawmakers overwhelmingly supported the bill, with the Senate passing it via unanimous consent and only 14 House members, all Republicans, voting against the measure.
The bill was hastened to make it to Biden’s desk ahead of this year’s Juneteenth, which is Saturday, but will be observed by the feds on the 18th — meaning most federal employees will now be off work on Friday.
NBC News reported that Juneteenth “is already celebrated as a state or ceremonial holiday in 47 states and the District of Columbia,” and “Texas became the first to make it a state holiday in 1980.” Juneteenth is also known as Black Liberation Day, Emancipation Day, and Jubilee Day.