The Senate unanimously passed legislation Tuesday making Juneteenth a federal holiday.
Juneteenth, already celebrated in the majority of states on June 19, commemorates the official end of slavery in Confederate states on that day in 1865. Though President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863, hundreds of thousands of slaves did not learn of their freedom until after the end of the Civil War.
Republican Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) has cosponsored an amendment to replace Columbus Day with Juneteenth as a new federal holiday.
The measure was introduced Wednesday as an amendment to Sen. John Cornyn’s (R-TX) bill to declare Juneteenth a federal holiday. Johnson is co-sponsoring the amendment with Sen. James Lankford (R-OK).
Both Target and Best Buy have announced plans to make Juneteenth a company-wide holiday, an idea that Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) wants to institute on the federal level.
“One of the most defining days in our nation’s history was when President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, finally freeing all slaves in Confederate territory. But slaves in Texas wouldn’t learn this life-altering news for two and a half years,” Cornyn said during a Senate floor speech Thursday.
President Donald Trump said Friday that he is rescheduling his first campaign rally in months to a day later so it won’t conflict with the Juneteenth observance of the end of slavery in the United States.
Trump had scheduled the rally — his first since early March — for June 19 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Black leaders said it was offensive for Trump to pick that day and that place, a city that in 1921 was the site of a fiery and orchestrated white-on-black attack.