Bill passes US Congress to establish Juneteenth as federal holiday

The United States House of Representatives and Senate passed a measure this week that will establish June 19, most commonly known as Juneteenth, as a federal holiday.

The day marks June 19, 1865, when the Union Army brought word to Galveston, Texas that slavery had been outlawed. Galveston was one of the last places where Black Americans were still enslaved. Then-president Abraham Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation two years earlier.

By making it a federal holiday, the bill only guarantees federal workers will get Juneteenth off, there is no requirement that private businesses give employees the day off.

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Zac Oakes is the News and Sports Director for and Laker Country WJRS 104.9 FM.