Jun 19, 2020

Axios PM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

Good afternoon: Today's PM — edited by Justin Green — is 503 words, a 2-minute read.

👀 Incoming: Jonathan Swan just wrapped an interview with President Trump. Breaking soon on Axios.com, with full details in Axios AM...

1 big thing: Juneteenth as a federal holiday

People march to the Georgia State Capitol during a Juneteenth event in Atlanta. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The George Floyd protests have sparked fresh interest in increasing the formal status of Juneteenth, the holiday commemorating the day thousands of Texas slaves learned in 1865 that they'd been emancipated.

The big picture: Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) has spent years asking the House to recognize the historical significance of Juneteenth, and now the House — as well as numerous states, some senators and a long list of corporations — is getting on board, reports Axios' Rashaan Ayesh.

  • States: 47 states — North Dakota, South Dakota and Hawaii are the outliers —commemorate the date. Virginia gave executive branch state employees the day off this year, and New York made it a paid holiday for state staff.
  • Senate: Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) announced yesterday they've introduced legislation to make Juneteenth a national holiday. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) is introducing similar legislation.
  • House: There are more than 200 co-sponsors this year for Jackson Lee's resolution.
  • Corporations: Nike, Vox Media, Spotify, Lyft, Twitter, Square, the NFL, Fifth Third Bank, Target and Best Buy are among the companies giving staff a paid day off.

Between the lines: It took nearly 20 years for MLK Day to be recognized as a national holiday. Rep. John Conyers first introduced the bill in 1968, four days after Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. President Ronald Reagan finally signed the bill into law in 1986.

The bottom line: “Juneteenth legislation is a call for freedom, but it also reinforces the history of African Americans," Jackson Lee told Time.

  • "We’ve fought for this country. We’ve made great strides, but we’re still the victims of sharp disparities."

Go deeper: Only four Fortune 500 companies have black CEOs, and it doesn’t get much better elsewhere in the C-suite. Listen here.

2. Pic du jour
Handwritten Juneteenth decree. Photo: National Archives

The National Archives has found what appears to be an original handwritten Juneteenth military order, WashPost reports.

  • "The decree, in the ornate handwriting of a general’s aide, was found in a formal order book stored in the Archives headquarters building in Washington. It is dated June 19, 1865, and signed by Maj. F.W. Emery, on behalf of Union Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger."
  • “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, ‘all slaves are free.'"
3. Catch up quick
  1. AMC flip-flopped on face masks: The theater chain said today that the chain would require face masks for moviegoers when its theaters reopen. Go deeper.
  2. New closings: Apple will temporarily close 11 of its stores in Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina and Arizona.
  3. One of the three police officers who discharged their weapons during the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor will be fired. Go deeper.
  4. Major cruise lines are suspending trips from U.S. ports until Sept. 15. Go deeper.
  5. Bonus: A prominent Democratic economist says America should run deficits without issuing debt. Go deeper.
4. 1 sports thing

Photo: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Ominous sign for the return of sports: The Philadelphia Phillies are indefinitely closing their Florida spring training facility after five players and three staff members tested positive for the coronavirus, Axios' Fadel Allassan reports.

Mike Allen