Juneteenth has officially become a national holiday in the United States.
US President Joe Biden signed The Juneteenth National Independence Day Act in the White House on Thursday 17 June to formally recognise Juneteenth as a national holiday.
Speaking about the signing Mr Biden said: “Great nations don’t ignore their most painful moments.” Joe Biden said, “We come to terms with the mistakes we made. And remembering those moments, we begin to heal and grow stronger.”
“I’ve only been president for several months, but I think this will go down for me as one of the greatest honours I will have had as president.” said Mr Biden.
What is Juneteenth?GETTY IMAGES
On 19 June 1865 enslaved African-Americans in Galveston in the state of Texas were told they were free.
The day became known as Juneteenth, a word created by joining the words ‘June’ and ‘nineteenth’ together.
It’s also known as Emancipation Day, Juneteenth Independence Day, or Cel-Liberation Day.
Although the day has a very rich history and a special meaning for families all over the US, outside of the US many people haven’t heard about it.
Today Juneteenth is celebrated in lots of different ways, with parades, public readings and gatherings for food and to play games.
Find out more about the story behind Juneteenth in our guide.What is national holiday?GETTY IMAGESPeople gather to eat picnics and barbeques for Juneteenth
A national holiday is a day of celebration that has been formally and legally recognised by the government.
It means that people do not have to go to work or school, because of a religious or national festival.
Here in the UK for example, Christmas and New Year’s Day are a national holiday.
This year, companies such as Nike, Uber, Twitter and many others have announced they are giving their employees a paid day off for Juneteenth.
Juneteenth is the first new federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr Day was established in 1983.
Department of International Relations and European Studies https://www.ibu.edu.ba/department-of-international-relations-and-european-studies/