Juneteenth becomes 12th federal holiday

Welcome to the Friday, June 18, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. President Biden signs legislation establishing Juneteenth as 12th federal holiday
  2. We want to hear from you!
  3. #FridayTrivia: What office has been the target of the most recall efforts so far in 2021? 

President Biden signs legislation establishing Juneteenth as 12th federal holiday

President Joe Biden (D) signed legislation yesterday, June 17, making Juneteenth a federal holiday. Juneteenth.com describes the day as “the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States.” 

Federal law now establishes 11 annual federal holidays: New Year’s Day, the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Juneteenth National Independence Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day. Inauguration Day is a legal public holiday every four years for federal employees in the Washington, D.C., area.

The U.S. Senate unanimously passed the bill establishing June 19 as a legal public holiday called Juneteenth National Independence Day on June 15. The House approved the legislation the next day, 415-14. All 14 members who opposed the bill are Republicans. The new law establishing the holiday takes effect this year, meaning that federal employees will be off today since June 19 is a Saturday. 

Juneteenth is also called Juneteenth Independence Day, Freedom Day, and Emancipation Day. The National Museum of African American History and Culture describes Juneteenth as “our country’s second independence day.” The holiday’s name comes from combining June and nineteenth.

On June 19, 1865, roughly two months after Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox, Virginia, on April 9, Union Major General Gordon Granger rode into Galveston, Texas, to deliver the news of the end of the Civil War and the abolition of slavery. Granger officially established Union control of Texas and delivered a federal order declaring that all slaves were free. The first official Juneteenth was celebrated in Texas on June 19, 1866. 

Forty-nine states and the District of Columbia recognize Juneteenth as either an official holiday or a day of historical importance. Texas, where the holiday originated, was the first state to pass legislation recognizing Juneteenth in 1980. The most recent state to do so was Hawaii on June 16. South Dakota is the only state that has not passed legislation formally recognizing Juneteenth. Previous presidents, including Barack Obama (D) and Donald Trump (R), recognized Juneteenth before it became a federal holiday.

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#FridayTrivia: What office has been the target of the most recall efforts so far in 2021?

In Tuesday’s Brew, we shared Ballotpedia’s Mid-Year Recall Report, which summarizes the 164 recall efforts against 262 officials we’ve tracked in 2021. These are the most recall efforts we’ve tracked through this point in the year since 2016.

Ballotpedia has been cataloging recall efforts for all elected officials since 2009, and we’ve published mid-year and year-end summary reports since 2016. This report is full of interesting statistics, charts, and maps from the first six months of the year and, in my opinion, is a great source for this week’s #FridayTrivia question. 

Today’s question is, what office has been the target of the most recall efforts this year?

  1. City council members
  2. Governors
  3. Mayors
  4. School board members



About the author

Dave Beaudoin

Dave Beaudoin is a project director at Ballotpedia. Contact us at editor@ballotpedia.org.