THE House of Representatives voted 415-14 to make Juneteenth, or June 19th, the 12th federal holiday.
The bill goes to President Joe Biden’s desk to be signed into law.
Do you have to work on Juneteenth?
The House on June 16 voted to pass a bill making Juneteenth a federal holiday, one day after the Senate unanimously voted to do the same.
Biden is expected to sign the bill into law by June 18.
Juneteenth commemorates the end of slavery in the US, and it is already celebrated as a state or ceremonial holiday in 47 states and in Washington, DC.
Under the legislation, the federal holiday would be known as Juneteenth National Independence Day.
Once June 19 is declared a federal holiday, federal workers would get the day off and others would as well – depending on what businesses decide to stay dark.
Juneteenth is already a paid holiday for state employees in Texas, New York, Virginia and Washington.
June 19 commemorates when the last enslaved African Americans learned they were free.
Confederate soldiers surrendered in April 1865, but word didn’t reach the last enslaved black people until June 19, when Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to Galveston, Texas.
That was also about two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation freeing slaves in the Southern states.
It’s the first new federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was created in 1983.
“Our federal holidays are purposely few in number and recognize the most important milestones," said Democratic Representative Carolyn Maloney of New York.
“I cannot think of a more important milestone to commemorate than the end of slavery in the United States."
Texas Democratic Representative Sheila Jackson Lee, who sponsored the bill, said it's "been a long journey" but "we're here."
"Juneteenth equals freedom and freedom is what America is about!" she tweeted.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the vote "an exciting historic day" ahead of the vote.
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