Senator John Cornyn says he plans to bring forward legislation to make Juneteenth a federal holiday.
On the Senate floor, the Texas Republican explained the day is "an opportunity to reflect on our history."Juneteenth commemorates June 19th, 1865, the day the commander of the federal occupation forces in Galveston notified the city's black population that they were no longer slaves.
The order by Major General Gordon Granger read: "The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired laborer."
Houston Democratic Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee introduced a corresponding measure in the House.
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