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Juneteenth is celebrated in the heart of Harlem, New York City. Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

People across the country are celebrating Juneteenth National Independence Day.

The big picture: The date, June 19, memorializes when some of the last enslaved people in Texas learned about their freedom under the Emancipation Proclamation in 1865.

  • President Biden on Thursday signed into law legislation making Juneteenth the newest federal holiday.
  • Many Americans have annually commemorated the anniversary long before the official recognition.

Go deeper: Juneteenth forces U.S. to confront lasting impact of slavery economy

In photos:
River City Drum Corps leads a march for the Juneteenth commencement of On the Banks of Freedom in Louisville, Ky. Photo: Jon Cherry/Getty Images
Terrance Floyd at the unveiling of a statute dedicated to his brother George Floyd at Flatbush Junction on June 19, 2021, in Brooklyn. Photo: David Dee Delgado/Getty Images
Celebrations in Harlem, New York City. Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Participants practice yoga during a community yoga class alongside Interstate 244 during the Juneteenth Festival in Tulsa, Okla. Photo: Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images
A father and son take a selfie at the Black Wall Street Memorial during the Juneteenth Festival in the Greenwood District in Tulsa, Okla. Photo: Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images
A young person writes Juneteenth on a wall in chalk during the All Nations Worship Assembly Russell Neighborhood Juneteenth Celebration in Louisville, Ky. Photo: Jon Cherry/Getty Images
Dancers of the P.U.S.H. (Practice Until Something Happens) dance team preform at a Juneteenth rally at the Brooklyn Library. Photo: David Dee Delgado/Getty Images
Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks at the event as a new Federal Holiday ''Juneteenth'' is celebrated in the heart of Harlem, New York City. Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Women pose for a photo before entering a neighborhood Juneteenth celebration in Louisville, Ky. Photo: Jon Cherry/Getty Images

Go deeper

The Juneteenth milestone

President Biden points to Opal Lee, a 94-year-old Texan who campaigned for a Juneteenth holiday, after signing the bill yesterday. Photo: Evan Vucci/AP

Two branches of government haven't acted in concert this speedily in at least 10 years.

Driving the news: The Senate passed a Juneteenth national holiday on Tuesday, the House followed Wednesday, President Biden signed it Thursday, and Friday is an official federal holiday (although the Postal Service will operate, saying there wasn't time to shut down).

Biden signs bill making Juneteenth a federal holiday

President Biden and Vice President Harris with members of Congress after the signing in the White House on June 17. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

"Great nations don't ignore their most painful moments," President Biden said before signing legislation Thursday that establishes Juneteenth as a federal holiday, just two days before the occasion.

Why it matters: The holiday, which will be known as Juneteenth National Independence Day, is now the 11th annual federal holiday and the first one established since the creation of Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 1983.

Companies hurry to give paid day off for Juneteenth holiday

Yelp is one of the more than 800 companies to offer a paid holiday for Juneteenth. Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

More than 800 U.S. companies offered employees a paid day off Friday for the newly established Juneteenth federal holiday, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: President Biden signed legislation late Thursday making Juneteenth a federal holiday, leaving many U.S. companies rushing to create policies for workers to take the day off.