Celebrating Juneteenth every year on June 19 holds symbolic meaning. People see the holiday as a happy celebration of freedom and a chance to reflect on America’s history of slavery. CBS News reports on the meaning behind the holiday’s name:

“June 19 marks the third consecutive year of Juneteenth as a federally recognized United States holiday. Also known as Freedom Day, Emancipation Day or America’s second Independence Day, Juneteenth commemorates the end of slavery in the U.S. after the Civil War.

“Many Americans have celebrated it annually for more than a century, even though the holiday was not officially added to the national calendar until 2021. As the Black Lives Matter movement gained renewed power across the country and abroad the previous year with the police killings of Black Americans like George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, public calls grew louder for the federal government to acknowledge emancipation as the critical turning point it was in U.S. history. Advocates sought, again, for leaders to codify the Juneteenth holiday into law, decades after communities began to push for broader recognition of Juneteenth as an emblem of unity, power and resilience in the wake of the police beating of Rodney King in 1991.

“Federal recognition came in 2021. A bill to solidify Juneteenth National Independence Day as a legal public holiday passed almost unanimously through both chambers of Congress before being signed by President Biden on June 18. At a White House ceremony held for the occasion, Mr. Biden said: ‘All Americans can feel the power of this day, and learn from our history.’ It was the first time a national holiday was established in the U.S. since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was set to honor the late civil rights leader’s birthday in 1983.

“Juneteenth became a legal federal holiday in the U.S. on the eve of its earliest nationwide observance on June 19, 2021. It is observed and celebrated each year on that same date.”

To read the entire CBS News article, click HERE.