Prior to this week, the number of  Federal Holidays in the United States stood at 11, but now it's an even dozen.

With President Biden's signature, Thursday (June 17), Juneteenth was added to the list with commemoration slated for June 19 each year.

So what is Juneteenth?

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The day celebrates the end of slavery in the United States with the first observance coming back on June 19, 1865, when Union Major General Gordon Granger and his troops arrived at Galveston, Texas with word that the Civil War had ended.

Juneteenth is a blend of the words June and nineteenth.

It took another 15 years for Juneteenth to be officially recognized as a state holiday when Texas passed legislation making it a law in the Lone Star State. Since then, five other states have declared Juneteenth a holiday (Massachusetts, New York, Virginia, Washington, and Oregon), while all of the other remaining states, except one, have recognized the significance of the day.

The lone holdout? South Dakota.

Two members of the state legislature are tried to change that earlier this year.

According to The Hill, Senator Reynold Nesiba (D) introduced a pair of bills during the most recent legislative session in Pierrecalling for a paid day off on Juneteenth, while a bill from Senator Jim Bolin (R) that would have established Juneteenth as a 'working holiday' did not make it through the state House before the legislative session ended for the year.

The current list of Federal Holidays:

  • New Year's Day
  • Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's birthday
  • Inauguration Day (Every four years)
  • George Washington's birthday (Also known as Presidents' Day)
  • Memorial Day
  • Independence Day
  • Juneteenth
  • Labor Day
  • Columbus Day (Native American Day in South Dakota)
  • Veterans Day
  • Thanksgiving
  • Christmas

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