Published by the Tennessee Tribune on 17th June 2021
President Biden receives hearty applause at the signing of the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act. (Carlos Barria/Reuters)
President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris signed into law a bill establishing Juneteenth National Independence Day, a celebration designating the end of slavery in the United States, as a federal holiday.
“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 but the distance we have to travel to,” Biden said during remarks Thursday in the East Room of the White House. The last federal holiday was created in 1983, when former President Ronald Reagan established Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
“Great nations don’t walk away,” Biden added. “We come to terms with the mistakes we’ve made.”
The law takes effect immediately, and will be celebrated on Friday, June 18, since it is the closest weekday.