What is Juneteenth and how did it become a federal holiday?

1. Juneteenth is an annual holiday commemorating the emancipation of enslaved African Americans in the United States.

2. It is celebrated on June 19th and is also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day.

3. Juneteenth originated in Galveston, Texas, in 1865 when Union General Gordon Granger announced the end of slavery in the state.

4. It marks the moment when the news of the Emancipation Proclamation, which was signed in 1863, finally reached enslaved people in Texas.

5. Over time, Juneteenth grew in significance, becoming a symbol of freedom and a celebration of African American culture and heritage.

6. Efforts to make Juneteenth a federal holiday gained momentum in the 21st century.

7. On June 15, 2021, the U.S. Congress passed a bill to establish Juneteenth National Independence Day as a federal holiday.

8. President Joe Biden signed the bill into law on the same day, officially making Juneteenth a federal holiday.

9. It is the first new federal holiday established since Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 1983.

10. Juneteenth becoming a federal holiday reflects a national recognition of the historical significance of the emancipation of enslaved people and the ongoing journey toward racial equality.