News Update: Senate Passes Legislation to Make Juneteenth a Federal Holiday

Updated: Jul 8, 2021

By Wendy Swanson

Washington D.C.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021


There is an additional reason for celebration this Juneteenth. Yesterday the Senate unanimously passed legislation to make June 19 a federal holiday. The bill will now go to the House of Representatives for passage and, then, to President Biden for his signature. The Senate passed the bill under a unanimous consent agreement that expedites the process for considering legislation.


Juneteenth has taken an important step toward becoming the 12th Federal Holiday and the first established since 1983. Juneteenth National Independence Day, as the holiday will be known, will honor the end of slavery in this country.


And another resource announced for learning and remembrance:

The National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) in Washington has announced its plans for the day. History, culture, music, recipes, ancestor research and educational activities are among the topics included online to enhance holiday enjoyment and fulfillment. Virtual Juneteenth programs will include:


  • Black Smoke with food writer Adrian Miller and the museum’s Andrew W. Mellon Director, Kevin Young.

  • Genealogy & Records of Intrigue with NMAAHC’s Robert Frederick Smith Explore Your Family History Center staff.

  • Porch Stories with storyteller Jan Blake

  • Juneteenth: Connecting the Historic to the Now, a panel discussion on the historical origins and current political significance of Juneteenth.

  • Community Soundstage: A Conversation with Amythyst Kiah includes both an acoustic performance and a discussion with the museum associate director for curatorial affairs, Dwandalyn Reece.

The organization’s Juneteenth webpage also provides additional resources about the holiday and ways to celebrate:

  • Learn more about the meaning and legacy of Juneteenth

  • Research ancestors

  • Get free recipes for your Juneteenth feast

  • Share your own story through our Community Curation Program

  • Participate in education activities — including Press Play on History, which invites students and educators in grades 6 to 12 to create a musical playlist inspired by objects that embody the holiday — for learners of every age

The Museum definitely has planned something for everyone so that they can learn more about the day and chose a way to celebrate. Visit the website here.