President Joe Biden signed legislation June 17, 2021 establishing June 19 as Juneteenth National Independence Day, a U.S. federal holiday.
"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," Biden said at the White House during a signing ceremony.
Juneteenth marks the date some of the last enslaved people became free. On June 19, 1865 Union Major General Gordon Granger announced the end of slavery in Galveston, Texas, in accordance with President Abraham Lincoln's 1863 Emancipation Proclamation.
The holiday is the first federal holiday established since 1983 when Martin Luther King Jr. Day became the 11th federal holiday recognized by the U.S. federal government.