Congress went out on a majority vote (415-14) in an effort to make the 19th of June or Juneteenth the 12th Federal holiday. Now, the President has to sign the bill after it reaches his desk and make it a law. The day would be a commemoration of 19th June 1865 when soldiers of the Union brought news of the freedom of Black people who had been enslaved in Galveston.
This occurred two months after the Confederacy had already surrendered to the Union in the Civil War. Interestingly, this also came in two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation had been passed- freeing the slaves still captured in the Southern States.
Juneteenth To Be The Latest Federal Holiday
After 1983, this is the latest federal holiday to see the light of the day. Back in 1983, the previous federal holiday was Martin Luther King Jr. day. Carolyn Maloney, the Democratic Representative of New York stated that the country didn’t have too many federal holidays- which was simply because it was designed to celebrate only the most important milestones. Looking back, there is no other milestone that comes close to the commemoration of freedom in the United States on Juneteenth.
Sheila Jackson Lee, the Democratic Representative of Texas stated that she would be in Galveston, Texas- in order to celebrate Juneteenth along with John Cornyn, the Republican Representative of Texas. She did express her admiration at the federal holiday- which would definitely make her stand taller. The honor and the basic tenets of what made this country the United States of America was being represented.
The Senate had already passed the Juneteenth bill the previous day unanimously- which did expedite the process which would consider legislation. David Scott, the Democratic Representative of Georgia pleaded with the rest of Congress that it was imperative that they vote unanimously to grant this bill safe passage.