On Thursday, President Biden signed a bill establishing Juneteenth — the day commemorating the end of slavery in the United States — as a federal holiday, establishing June 19 officially as Juneteenth National Independence Day. The US Office of Personnel Management announced that many federal workers will observe the holiday today, June 18th, since this year June 19 falls on a Saturday. The holiday is the first federal holiday established since Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 1983.
The legislation was passed by Congress on Wednesday, having gained momentum following Black Lives Matter protests sparked by the police killing of George Floyd.
Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when Union Major General Gordon Granger announced the end of slavery in Galveston, Texas, in accordance with President Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation.