Juneteenth becomes a national holiday

President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law on Thursday.
19:57 | 06/17/21

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Transcript for Juneteenth becomes a national holiday
A landmark moment in American history president Biden just back from the Geneva summit with Vladimir Putin about to make June team a national holiday. This comes just two days before June 19 recognizes the day. The last enslave black people were freed in Texas and 1865. In the wake of the civil war the bill of course gaining momentum following the death of George Floyd in the racial reckoning. The conversation this country let's listen to the vice president. Good afternoon everywhere and good afternoon. So throughout history. Tim teen has been known by many names. Jubilee day. Freedom day. Liberation day. Emancipation day. And today. A national holiday. And looking out at trust this room. I've seen the advocates. The activists. Believe there is. Have been calling for the state for so worm. Including the one and only missed hopefully her. I'm. We just received a very special recognition from the president of the United States. And Dicey members of congress who are members of the congressional black cops it's. Members of the United States senate who passed this bill unanimously. And all. All of whom. Collectively were responsible. For delivering this film. To the president's desk and I thank you we think you can't do nation. Thanks to you a home. And you know when we established national Monta. It makes an important statement. National holidays. Are something important. These are days. When we as a nation have decided. To stop and take stock. And often. To acknowledge. Our history. And so as we establish June 18 as Aaron newest national holiday. Let us be clear. About what happened on June 19. 1860 far. The day we Constantin. Because you seen that day was not the end of slavery in America. Yes. On that day the enslaved people. Of Galveston Texas learned that they were free. But in fact. Two and a half years earlier. Emancipation. Proclamation. Ended slavery in confederacy. Should think about them. For more than two years. The enslaved people of Texas. Were kept in servitude. For more than two years. They were intentionally. Kept from their freedom. For more than two leaps. And then on that summer day. 156. Years ago. The enslaved people of Texas. Learn the news. They learned that they were free. And they claimed. Their freedom. It is indeed an important day. Still let us also remember that day was not the end of slavery in America. The truth is. It would be six more months. Before the thirteenth amendment was ratified. Therefore enslaved people unsound in the north refrained. So as we commemorating. The history of June teens. As we did just weeks ago with a history of the Tulsa. Race massacred. We must learn. From a history. And we must teach our children. Our history. Because it is packed and our history. As a nation it is part of American history. So let me and I think this. We are gathered here. In a house built by enslaved people. We are footsteps away. From where president Abraham Lincoln. Signed the emancipation. Proclamation. And we are here. To witness. President Joseph Blanton is step towards June 18 as a national holiday we have come far. And we have far to go home. But today. Is a day of celebration. It is not only day of the pride. This also would Danny. Trust says reaffirm. And rededicate ourselves to action. And with the nice thing. Had Kingston teen to everybody. And doing that I am. Thank you. I'm vice president. Hundred produce six years ago. 156 years. Through 1960. Fire. China thanks to me. Major general in the union harm him right in Galveston Texas. To force the administration proclamation. Entry in the last enslaved Americans and texts from bondage. Today we all know review so what was can only judo team if you own an. And data reflects what the soul tells us. Weeping may endure for night. Enjoyed his comments in the morning. Q what teen. Marks both a long. Hard. Night. Of slavery subjugation. And a promise. Roberta weren't true. This is day profound in my view profound weight in profound power. Then what you remember. Moral stain it. Cheryl Cole. To slavery took on the country. And continues today. When I've long called America's original soon. It's the same time house remembering the extraordinary capacity. To healing. And hope. A new merge. For most painful moments. In a bitter bitter. Version of ourselves. But to make a better version. Ourselves. And today we consecrate. June 18. For an audibly when a must take a national holiday. He's vice president noted with holidays. That will join the others of our national celebrations. Our independence. Our laborers who built this nation. Our servicemen and women who serve the guidance defense. In the first new national holiday since creation of Martin Luther King Holland nearly four decades ago. I'm grateful. Members of congress you're dead particular. Congressional Black Caucus but did so much to make this day possible. I'm especially pleased that we showed the nation doing come together as Democrats and Republicans. To commemorate. This day the overwhelming bipartisan support for congress. I hope this is the beginning. Of a change in the way we do with one. We're blessed. Blessed to mark and then the president is hopeful Lee as my mother claim god. And I had the honor of meeting here. In the matter mourn your bureau. She told me she love me and believed it. Fears over your criminal. A daughter Jackson's. Grandmother of the movement to make UT the federal holidays. To new zobel who. It is arguable leader if she's 49 years old. And I before your original. You are incredible woman and so you really are. As a child growing up in Texas. Shooter friendly. Which celebrate your deep. The Jones saint 1939. When she was twelve years old. The way white mob torched her family home. But such hate it. Never stopped here anymore to stop the best part of majority you I'm looking at from this podium. Over the course of decades. She's made it her mission. To see that this day K. There's almost a singular mission. She's walked for miles and miles literally and figuratively. To bring attention did you deep. To make this day possible. I ask once again we all stand and give her a warm welcome. There's still saying the senate and I said security she cheers. To shoot in different point of personal privilege. As I was walking down I regret. That my grandchildren and he used this is. A really really really important moment in our history. I'm making unity to federal holiday. All Americans. Can feel the power of the state learn forestry. And celebrate. Progress can grapple. With the distance we've column but to disappear to challenge him. And I said a few weeks ago. Marking hundredth anniversary and tolls or race massacre. Great nations. Don't ignore their most painful moments. Cree nations don't ignore the most painful moments. They don't blue route moments in the past they embrace them. Great nations. To walk away. We come to terms. With mistakes made. And remember he did those moments we begin to view. And grow stronger. He chooses. Fists not simply not enough just to commemorate. To tease. After all. Emancipation of loosely black Americans. Can mark the end of America's working the room promised equality. Knowing marked the beginning. Connor road truly new opportunities. We have to continue. Toward that promise we've not gotten here. Vice president miner retired administration. And all of news room. Are committed to doing just that. That's why we've launched an aggressive effort combat racial discrimination housing. Finally addressed cruel fact that. A home wound just to this day by a black American family. This usually appraisal low rate personal whom whom I wait for him somewhere. That's why we committed to increasing black homeownership. For the biggest drivers of generational wealth. That's why are making possible. For more black entrepreneurs were access to access capital because there are engaged with the lack the capital. If their fear and get their fair share of federal contracts. Stating begin to build wealth. That's why are working give each and every child. Three in four years of age not daycare but school unity school. We are talking incredibly creative and innovation and inflammation of the history of our historical black colleges and universities. Providing them and the resources invest in research centers and laboratories. Tell preach peace to you graduates prepared compete for good paying jobs the industry's future. Folks. The promise of equality. There's not going to be and fulfilled. Until we become real. Becomes real and our schools and our main streets and neighborhoods. Our health care system. And ensuring that equity it's a horror are afraid against the pandemic. The water comes out of our faucets. And here that we breed in our communities. And our justice system. Sooner you fulfill the promise of America for all people all of our people. And it's not going to be fulfilled so long as the sacred right to vote remains under attack. A nuisance wounded. From restrictive laws. Threats and intimidation voter purges and more. The assault that offends the very democracy our very democracy Reid can't rest. So the promise of equality is to fill for every one of us in every corner of this nation. That two knees means UT. That's what it's about. So let's make these two this there are two teams tomorrow. The first of our nation who celebrated. All together. As one nation. The June teams. Of action many fronts. One of those. It's vaccinations. Tomorrow the vice president being Landon bus tour helping to spread the word Michael you've been doing and lifesaving vaccines. And across the country this weekend including here in Washington people will be canvassing. And hosting events in their communities going door to door encouraging vaccinations. We build equity in the heart of the vaccination program from day one but. We still more work to do to close the racial gap in vaccination rates. The more we can do that the more we can save lives. Today also marks the sixth anniversary of the tragic lesson at mother meant no church in Charleston, South Carolina. Killer. Motivated by hate. Continued this sort of race wars shock. He doing his victims in Bible study class. The need to paralyze the house of worship. Reminders. For her work to root out hate never end because hate only high acts. It never fully goes away heights. Can we knew breathes oxygen on Iraq. Becomes out. That's who must understand that UT's. Represents not only the commemoration of the end of slavery. In America more than 150 years ago. But the ongoing work to have to bring true equity. And racial injustice from two Americas society which we can do. It sure. Is they didn't just celebrated the past. Calls for action today. And wish all Americans. Happy June 18. I'm sort of news moment consign laws. Make huge federal holiday. And I have to say you know in the present for several months. I think this will be down for me. Through the greatest honors. A little past present because I did you did. Democrats Republicans. And some newer books enormous. Thank you for what you don't know who by the way. Typical of most of us in congress who sued. I would down the other end of the hall first to thank your staff's views undergoes a harbor. I thank them as well. And god bless you all and may god protect our troops thank you now. Right up while I slowly and senator Tina Smith. As senator Markey. Sooner roughly a worn on senator John Cornyn. Whip Jon Klein heard representative Barbara Lee. Representative and didn't Davis. Chair jury speedy. And Sheila Jackson Lee. And ms. Sobel. President by combining several members of congress both the house and the senate. You can voting and complete paperwork you'll sign the federal law. Jim Taylor. If you get a federal holiday mentioned visible only. Finally united that Taylor 94 years old fighting for many many years for the federal holiday. She's a retired Fort Worth educator. And igniting force told local reporters I'm so delighted to know that suddenly we've got coaching team it's not a Texas thing. Not a black thing. It's an American business as soldiers and also not lost amongst the significance the vice president folding home believes happened. Vice president couple Harris beginning of the comments in the east room of the White House there. The first woman vice president but the first vice presidents of color marketing this historic day. Our country. And as the president signs the bill. We took note of who believes that he regretted not having in that room with his grandchildren. He said because this is a day when all Americans can learn part of our history the distance that we have come. Except distance. We must still travel.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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