Congress Votes To Make Juneteenth a Federal Holiday

Congress Votes To Make Juneteenth a Federal Holiday

(Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

The House voted 415 to 14 to make Juneteenth a federal holiday on Wednesday, one day after the Senate unanimously approved the measure.

Juneteenth commemorates the Union Army declaration of the end of slavery in Texas on June 19, 1865. Former President Abraham Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation over two years prior, in the midst of the Civil War.

The votes in Congress mark the first establishment of a new federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was proclaimed in 1983.

“Juneteenth is a recognition that darkness can come to light, that there is a celebration as my forefathers and mothers struggled to endure the horror they experienced,” Representative Danny K. Davis (D., Il.) said following the House vote. “And so celebrating Juneteenth as a national holiday is simply an idea whose time has come.”

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.

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