US Congress declares a holiday for Juneteenth, marking the end of slavery

US Congress declares a holiday for Juneteenth, marking the end of slavery

It’s the primary new federal holiday since Luther King Jr. Day was created in 1983.The us will soon have a replacement federal holiday commemorating the top of slavery.

The House voted 415-14 Wednesday to form Juneteenth, or June 19th, the 12th federal holiday. The bill now goes to President Joe Biden’s desk, and he's expected to sign it into law.

Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas — two months after the Confederacy had surrendered. That was also about 2 1/2 years after the Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves within the Southern states.

It’s the primary new federal holiday since Luther King Jr. Day was created in 1983.

“Our federal holidays are purposely few in number and recognize the foremost important milestones," said Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y. “I cannot consider a more important milestone to commemorate than the top of slavery within the us ."

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, speaking next to an outsized poster of a Black man whose back bore massive scarring from being whipped, said she would be in Galveston this Saturday to celebrate along side Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas.

“Can you imagine?” said the rather short Jackson Lee. “I are going to be standing maybe taller than Sen. Cornyn, forgive me for that, because it'll be such an elevation of joy.”

The Senate passed the bill each day earlier under a unanimous consent agreement that expedites the method for considering legislation. It takes only one senator’s objection to dam such agreements.

“Please, allow us to do because the Senate. Vote unanimously for passage," Rep. David Scott, D-Ga., pleaded together with his colleagues.

The vote comes as lawmakers struggle to beat divisions on police reform legislation following the killing of George Floyd by police and as Republican state legislators push what experts say is an unprecedented number of bills aimed toward restricting access to the box .

While Republicans say the goal is to stop voter fraud, Democrats contend that the measures are aimed toward undermining minority voting rights.

Several members of the Congressional Black Caucus took to the ground to talk in favor of the bill. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-N.J., said she viewed Juneteenth as a commemoration instead of a celebration because it represented something that was delayed in happening.

“It also jogs my memory of what we do not have today," she said. “And that's full access to justice, freedom and equality. of these are often briefly supply because it relates to the Black community."

The bill was sponsored by Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass., and had 60 co-sponsors. Democratic leaders rushed to bring the bill to the House floor after the Senate's vote the day before.

Some Republican lawmakers opposed the trouble . Rep. Matt Rosendale, R-Mont., said creating the federal holiday was an attempt to celebrate “identity politics."

“Since i think in treating everyone equally, no matter race, which we should always be focused on what unites us instead of our differences, i will be able to vote no," he said during a handout.

The overwhelming majority of states recognize Juneteenth as a vacation or have a politician observance of the day, and most states hold celebrations. Juneteenth may be a paid holiday for state employees in Texas, New York, Virginia and Washington.

Under the legislation, the federal holiday would be referred to as Juneteenth National Independence Day .

Rep. Clay Higgins, R-La., said that he would vote for the bill which he supported the establishment of a federal holiday, but he was upset that the name of the vacation included the word “independence” instead of “emancipation.”

“Why would the Democrats want to politicize this by coopting the name of our sacred holiday of Independence Day?" Higgins asked.

Rep. Brenda Lawrence, D-Mich., replied, “I want to mention to my white colleagues on the opposite side: Getting your independence from being enslaved during a country is different from a rustic getting independence to rule themselves.”

She added, "We have a responsibility to show every generation of Black and white Americans the pride of nation who have survived, endured and succeeded in these us of America despite slavery."

The 14 House Republicans who voted against the bill were Andy Biggs of Arizona, Mo Brooks of Alabama, Andrew Clyde of Georgia, Scott DesJarlais of Tennessee, Paul Gosar of Arizona, Ronny Jackson of Texas, Doug LaMalfa of California, Thomas Massie of Kentucky, Tom McClintock of California, Ralph Norman of South Carolina, Mike Rogers of Alabama, Rosendale of Montana, Chip Roy of Texas and Tom Tiffany of Wisconsin.


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