Senate Unanimously Approves Juneteenth as a Federal Holiday In a unanimous vote, the U.S. Senate on Tuesday passed a resolution that calls for making Juneteenth an official federal holiday. The June 19th holiday, which the bill establishes as “Juneteenth National Independence Day,” commemorates the 1865 arrival of Major General Gordon Granger in Galveston, Texas, where he announced the end of slavery. Texas declared Juneteenth a state holiday in 1980, and every other state except South Dakota eventually followed. However, only a few of them have made it a paid holiday. Once the bill clears the House and the President’s desk, Juneteenth National Independence Day will become the 12th federally observed holiday in the U.S.. Why has it taken so long for the U.S. to officially recognize the end of slavery?