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Juneteenth 2021 – Biden signs law making day a federal public holiday as GOP compares to ‘critical race theory’

PRESIDENT Joe Biden signed a bill making Juneteenth a federal holiday commemorating the end of slavery.

“This will go down for me as one of the greatest honors I will have as president,” Biden said.

The House voted 415-14 on Wednesday to make Juneteenth the 12th federal holiday, and President Joe Biden is scheduled to sign the bill into law on Thursday.

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.

Despite the overwhelming support, some Republicans have criticized it, comparing it to critical race theory.

Read our Juneteenth live blog for all the latest news and updates...

  • BIDEN CALLS BILL SIGNING THE 'GREATEST HONOR' OF HIS TERM

    "This will go down for me as one of the greatest honors I will have as president," Biden said.

  • BIDEN SIGNED THE JUNETEENTH BILL INTO LAW

    President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth bill into law, making it a federal holiday.

  • PROFESSOR CRITICIZES CRACK DOWN ON CRITICAL RACE THEORY

    Berkeley professor Robert Reich called out those who are banning critical race theory as Juneteenth is set to become a federal law today.

    "Juneteenth is now a federal holiday, but laws are being enacted all across the country to keep people from learning about it?" tweeted Reich, who was formerly the Secretary of Labor.

  • USHER SPOTTED AT THE WHITE HOUSE AHEAD OF JUNETEENTH SIGNING

    Singer Usher was spotted at the White House ahead of the Juneteenth bill's signing, which is expected to happen shortly.

  • JUNETEENTH BILL PASSES AS STATES FORBID SCHOOLS TEACHING CRITICAL RACE THEORY

    The Juneteenth bill will be signed into law as states are banning schools from teaching about critical race theory.

    Critical race theory, as defined by Britannica, is an "intellectual movement" of Civil Rights scholars who critically examine the law as it intersects with issues of race.

    A school board in the wealthy suburb of South Lake, Texas, recently won an election to stop “critical race theory” and a new “cultural competence action plan” from being forced into classes.

    Last week, Florida's Board of Education banned educators from teaching critical race theory.

  • DEMOCRATIC SENATOR PUSHES FOR MORE PROGRESS

    Sen. Ed Markey applauded the Juneteenth bill while calling for more social progress in a tweet.

    "Juneteenth, yes. And voting rights. And police accountability. And clean air and water. And economic equality. And reparations," Markey tweeted.

    "We celebrate this federal holiday and recommit to full Black liberation," the Democratic Senator from Massachusetts said.

  • CONGRESSIONAL BLACK CAUCUS CELEBRATES BILL SIGNING

    The Congressional Black Caucus celebrated the House signing the Juneteenth bill by singing "Lift Every Voice and Sing."

  • FEDERAL EMPLOYEES WILL OBSERVE JUNETEENTH TOMORROW

  • THE HOLIDAY HAS 'GROWING POPULARITY'

    According to Juneteenth.com, the holiday is gaining traction.

    "Its growing popularity signifies a level of maturity and dignity in America long over due.

    "In cities across the country, people of all races, nationalities and religions are joining hands to truthfully acknowledge a period in our history that shaped and continues to influence our society today.

    "Sensitized to the conditions and experiences of others, only then can we make significant and lasting improvements in our society."

  • JUNETEENTH PAYS TRIBUTE TO 'AFRICAN AMERICAN ACHIEVEMENT'

    According to Juneteenth.com the day "commemorates African American freedom and emphasizes education and achievement"

    "It is a day, a week, and in some areas a month marked with celebrations, guest speakers, picnics, and family gatherings.

    "It is a time for reflection and rejoicing. It is a time for assessment, self-improvement, and for planning the future.

  • THE HOLIDAY HAS OTHER NICKNAMES

    Juneteenth is also known as Emancipation Day and Freedom Day.

    The day marks the end of slavery in the United States as on June 19, 1865 slaves in Texas were told they would be freed.

    That day Union General Gordon Granger rode to Galveston, Texas and told the crowd: "In accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free."

    Juneteenth is a portmanteau of June and 19.

  • WHICH REPUBLICANS VOTED AGAINST THE JUNETEENTH BILL?

    Republicans suggested the bill would divide Americans, with GOP Rep. Chip Roy of Texas even taking swipe at the holiday's name - saying, "on a matter that should instead bring us together by creating a separate Independence Day based on the color of one's skin."

    Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona, Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama, Rep. Andrew Clyde of Georgia, Rep. Scott DesJarlais of Tennessee, and Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona were among the lawmakers who voted against Juneteenth being made a federal holiday.

    Rep. Ronny Jackson of Texas, Rep. Doug LaMalfa of California, Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky, Rep. Tom McClintock of California, Rep. Ralph Norman of South Carolina, Rep. Mike Rogers of Alabama, Rep. Matt Rosendale of Montana, Rep. Chip Roy of Texas, and Rep. Tom Tiffany of Wisconsin also opposed the bill.

  • JUNETEENTH HAS ITS OWN FLAG

  • WHICH STATES DO NOT CELEBRATE THE HOLIDAY?

    The celebration that marks the end of slavery is recognized by almost all US states.

    Hawaii, North Dakota, and South Dakota, are the states that have not yet established the day as a holiday.

    Hawaii is close to becoming the 49th state to recognize the day as lawmakers passed legislation in April of 2021 that would commemorate June 19.

    The bill which still needs to be signed by Governor David Ige would not make Juneteenth a state holiday.

  • WHICH STATES CELEBRATE JUNETEENTH?

    Celebrations to commemorate the end of slavery take place across the country with parades and festivals marking the emancipation of enslaved Black people.

    However Texas, New York, Virginia and Washington are the four states where state employees get paid on the Juneteenth.

    In 2020, the death of George Floyd sparked racial injustice protests across the country with thousands of people gathering to protest against racism.

    Americans paid tribute by participating in demonstrations around the country, holding sit-ins, or taking part in car caravan protests.

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