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Biden signs legislation making Juneteenth a national holiday

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Joe Biden signed legislation Thursday making Juneteenth, which is June 19, a national holiday commemorating the end of slavery in America.

What are the details?

"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.

What's the history behind Juneteenth?

June 19, 1865, is the date when news finally arrived in Texas that slaves were free — nearly three years following the Emancipation Proclamation.

As TheBlaze previously explained:

In those days, of course, information traveled slowly; but this news traveled slower than usual, even for back then. Without access to the reports in the east, slaves in Texas continued to serve their masters following both the Emancipation Proclamation and the Union's Civil War victory on May 9, 1865.

In December of that year, the 13th Amendment was ratified, formally abolishing slavery in the United States.

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