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Ahead of Juneteenth, now a federal holiday, Axios Re:Cap examines how America's economy remains marred by the legacies of slavery and racial discrimination.

Listen: We're joined by McKinsey & Co.’s Shelley Stewart III and Michael Chui to discuss a new report that digs into the economic inequities between Black and white Americans, including massive wage and wealth gaps, and what can be done to address them.

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).

A guide to Juneteenth celebrations in the Twin Cities

People celebrated Juneteenth last year in George Floyd Square. Photo: Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty Images

Saturday is Juneteenth, a holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.

Background: On June 19, 1865, enslaved people in Galveston, Texas learned they were free — more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation of January 1, 1863.

  • A bill declaring Juneteenth a federal holiday was passed by the House and Senate this week.
  • The city of Minneapolis designated it a holiday this year. City offices will be closed on Friday.

Here's what's happening around the Twin Cities:

  • Friday is Juneteenth Family Night at Creekview Park, hosted by the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. Music, a youth dance performance and activity bags provided. Virtual community panels will also be streamed tonight and Saturday.
  • The Juneteenth Revolutionary BlackOut Bike Ride returns on Saturday at Theodore Wirth Park. Get outdoors, listen to music and enjoy food from local Black farmers and chefs.
  • Also on Saturday, Black Lives Minnesota and others are holding a Reparations Juneteenth Celebration at the State Capitol.
  • Midtown Global Market will host a full Saturday afternoon of entertaining and educational programming, including some Juneteenth food specials.

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.