It has been since 1983, when Martin Luther King Jr. Day was signed into law by then-President Reagan, that we have added a new legal public holiday. Juneteenth National Independence Day will become the 12th legal public holiday.
Juneteenth marks the date that the last enslaved African Americans were granted their freedom. On that day in 1865, Union soldiers led by Gen. Gordon Granger arrived in the coastal city of Galveston, Texas, to deliver General Order No. 3, officially ending slavery in the state.
The Senate approved the bill unanimously this week, and President Biden will sign the bill today (June 17, 2021).
Juneteenth is celebrated the 19th of June each year and was already a paid holiday for state employees in Texas, New York, Virginia and Washington.