The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Biden signs bill making Juneteenth a national holiday; federal workers to get Friday off

WASHINGTON, DC ‐ June 17, 2021: US President Joe Biden along side Vice President Kamala Harris and members of congress signing the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law in the East Room of the White House on June 17, 2021. (Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post)

President Biden on Thursday signed into law a bill creating a federal holiday to commemorate Juneteenth, the day marking the end of slavery in Texas. Because June 19 falls on a Saturday this year, most federal employees will get this Friday off.

Great nations don’t ignore the most painful moments. They don’t ignore those moments in the past. They embrace them,” Biden said in remarks in the East Room before a crowd that included lawmakers and 94-year-old Opal Lee, who campaigned to make the day a national holiday. The president, who spoke of efforts in some states to restrict voting rights, said the date doesn’t just celebrate the past but is a call for action.

Here’s what to know:

Loading...