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US President Joe Biden Signs the Juneteenth Bill

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Joe Biden, the U.S. President signed a bill on Thursday establishing June 19 as Juneteenth National Independence Day.

It will be a US federal holiday celebrating the end of slavery in the United States. This act would go down as “one of the greatest honors” of his presidency.

 

During the signing ceremony at the White House Biden said – 

“I have to say to you, 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 as president,”

“I regret that my grandchildren aren’t here, because this is a really, really, really important moment in our history. By making Juneteenth a federal holiday, all Americans can feel the power of this day and learn from our history — and celebrate progress and grapple with the distance we’ve come (and) the distance we have to travel,” Biden said.

 

Vice President Kamala Harris further added, “We have come far, and we have far to go. But today is a day of celebration.”

The ceremony was held in the East Room, where Biden addressed the crowd. There were dozens of politicians, activists and community leader present in the room.

 

“Great nations don’t ignore their most painful moments,” Biden told the East Room crowd. “They embrace them.” 

“In short, this day doesn’t just celebrate the past. It calls for action today,” Biden said.

 

This day will become the 12th legal public holiday, including Inauguration Day, and the first new one created since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was signed into law in 1993 by then-President Ronald Reagan.

Juneteenth marks the freedom of the last enslaved African Americans.

 

The Slavery History

It was on that day in 1865 when Union soldiers reached the coastal city of Galveston, Texas, to deliver General Order No.3. Thus, officially putting an end to slavery in the state.

The final act of liberation came months after the Confederate army’s surrender ended the Civil War, and more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Declaration.

Lincoln was assassinated on April 15, 1865, two months before his declaration made it to Texas.

 

 

Juneteenth will be observed on Friday this year because June 19 falls on a Saturday. 

The New York Stock Exchange will not close for Juneteenth this year but will evaluate closing markets for the holiday in 2022, as stated by the exchange.

The Securities Exchange Commission will close its offices on Friday due to the new holiday, a spokesman said.

The SEC’s online data platform, EDGAR, will “also be closed and will not accept filings or assist with filer support,” the spokesman said.

The bill was passed this week with overwhelming support in both chambers of Congress.

It was approved by the Senate universally on Tuesday night and passed by the House in a 415-14 vote. The only votes against the bill came from Republicans.

 

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