On Tuesday, the Senate unanimously passed a resolution that approves of Juneteenth or June 19th to be observed as a federal holiday. This day, more than a hundred years ago, the scourge of slavery was abolished in the United States of America. It is expected to pass in the House and will become the eleventh federal holiday in the nation.
According to CNN the passing of the legislation came back into focus after George Floyd was killed by a policeman which led to several protests and the Black Lives Matter movement was back in focus.
In 2020, Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin had blocked the bill on the pretext that it would cost U.S. taxpayers millions of dollars. This week he said that he would no longer object to the legislation though he said that he objected to the cost and lack of debate.
Major General Gordon Granger declared the end of slavery in Galveston, Texas on June 19, 1865. This was announced in accordance with the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation by the then President Abraham Lincoln.
The Emancipation Proclamation could end slavery only in the states that had seceded. It was only in December 1865 that the entire nation brought an end to slavery after the 13th Amendment became a part of the Constitution.
Texas announced Juneteenth as a state holiday in 1980. Many states in the nation followed suite except for South Dakota, but it was not a paid holiday in some of the states. It is also called Emancipation Day.
Many senators cut across party lines to support the day as a federal holiday. The unanimous consent in the senate makes it easy to pass the bill. Otherwise, even if one senator objects, there can be blocks before it can be considered.
Photo-1941 – Mulatto ex-slave in her house near Greensboro, Alabama