With a stroke of his pen Thursday, President Joe Biden brought long-awaited validation to millions of Americans. The President made Juneteenth a federal holiday-the first, since President Ronald Reagan did the same for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, in 1983.
"I was elated to know that this country signed that into a national holiday," says local NAACP chapter President, Rev. Sharon Baugh. Reverend Baugh says there is still work to be done, a few rungs down on the ladder.
"School districts don't acknowledge it, don't teach it. Even to this day. To this day," says Baugh. "Hopefully school districts will catch up and start teaching and acknowledging Juneteenth."
Local race relations consultant, Patrick Johnson, also revels in the national milestone; an unspoken promise to never forget, and always strive to do better.
"So often here in this country, in all of its goodness, there are things that historically, particularly when it comes to the enslavement of Black people, we have not given full validation to and what it meant then and what it means right now," says Johnson.
The Juneteenth holiday commemorates June 19, 1865, the day a Union general arrived in Galveston, Texas, to inform enslaved people that they were free, two years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation.