Ed Dwight sculpture at the Texas African-American History Memorial in Austin, Texas (source: shutterstock.com)

Breanna Reeves | Voice News 

Earlier this week the U.S. Senate unanimously approved legislation to make Juneteenth a federal holiday, the House of Representatives quickly followed suit, and on Thursday, June 17, President Joe Biden signed the bill during a formal ceremony at the White House.

June 19 will now officially be recognized as “Juneteenth National Independence Day,” a day commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.

On the heels of the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Massacre, the One Year Anniversary of George Floyd’s murder, and in the year Breonna Taylor would have turned 28, the national recognition of Juneteenth as a federal holiday comes at a crucial time in which Black Americans still continue to fight for justice, acknowledgment and freedom.

Juneteenth, also known as African American Independence Day, Jubilee Day, or Freedom Day, is a celebration of African American culture, liberation, and freedom. Juneteenth was created and first celebrated in Galveston, Texas on June 19th, 1865 when Union General Gordon Granger arrived to deliver General Order No. 3, informing approximately 250,000 enslaved African Americans that the Civil War had ended and they were free. Although President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, two years earlier, news of the emancipation had not reached Texas until General Granger’s arrival.

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