(WTRF)- President Biden declared and signed a bill that passed a bill which would make Juneteenth, or June 19, a federal holiday commemorating the end of slavery.
West Virginia Governor, Jim Justice made the announcement during a special briefing.
Juneteenth commemorates when the last enslaved African Americans learned they were free — two months after the Confederacy had surrendered. That was also about two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation freeing slaves in the Southern states.
The House voted 415-14 Wednesday to make Juneteenth the 12th federal holiday. All dissenting votes were from Republicans. The Senate passed the bill a day earlier under a unanimous consent agreement, which speeds up the process for considering legislation.
The president is expected to deliver remarks on the bill at 3:30 p.m. ET.
Under the legislation, the federal holiday would be known as Juneteenth National Independence Day.
It is the first new federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was created in 1983.
Since Juneteenth falls on a Saturday this year, the governor said that Friday, June 18th would serve as the holiday for all state employees. This means that state employees will get this day off from work.