Congress approves bill to make Juneteenth a federal holiday

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This updated handout photo provided by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum on Tuesday, June 8, 2021 shows a signed copy of Emancipation Proclamation. The Library, in Springfield, Ill., will mark Juneteenth, the holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States, by displaying the rare signed copy of the Emancipation Proclamation. The copy of the proclamation that's signed by Lincoln and Secretary of State William Seward will be displayed between June 15 and July 6. The original document is kept in the National Archives in Washington, D.C. (Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum photo via AP)

By KEVIN FREKING

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) – The United States will soon have a new federal holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the nation.

The House passed a bill Wednesday that would make Juneteenth, or June 19th, a federal holiday.

The House voted 415-14 to make Juneteenth the 12th federal holiday. Juneteenth commemorates when the last enslaved African Americans learned they were free.

Confederate soldiers surrendered in April 1865, but word didn’t reach the last enslaved Black people until June 19, when Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to Galveston, Texas.

The bill now goes to President Joe Biden’s desk for his signature.

Categories: Associated Press