Senators on Friday announced legislation to make Juneteenth, a widely observed holiday that marks the federal order to free slaves in Texas on June 19, 1865, a national holiday.

Also known as Emancipation Day, Black Independence Day or Jubilee Day, Juneteenth celebrates the end of slavery after the Civil War, although President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation had legally accomplished that within the Confederacy more than two years earlier. The 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, ratified in 1865, abolished slavery throughout the entire United States.

“Juneteenth is about reclaiming our history, rejoicing in the progress we’ve made, and recommitting to the work yet undone," said Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., in a press release announcing the measure. "Our nation still has a long way to go to reckon with and overcome the dark legacy of slavery and the violence and injustice that has persisted after its end,”

The bill was proposed by Sens. Ed Markey, D-Mass., Booker, Tina Smith, D-Minn., and Kamala Harris, D-Calif. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, is a cosponsor.

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