Juneteenth is now a federal holiday. President Biden signed legislation creating the holiday during a ceremony at the White House. Juneteenth marks the actual end of slavery in the U.S., more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation.
Biden said slavery took a terrible toll and was America’s “original sin.” He added, “Great nations don’t ignore their most painful moments.” Biden said acknowledging those moments helps a nation “heal and grow stronger.”
Vice President Harris called Juneteenth a day of pride and a day of action in the ongoing struggle to achieve racial equality in the U.S. She noted that enslaved people helped build the White House. Harris said, “We have come far and we have far to go.”
The legislation was passed by the House and Senate with unusual speed this week. The Juneteenth National Independence Day is the first new federal holiday that has been created in decades.