The legislation to create Juneteenth as a federal holiday moved quickly this week; with Senate passage on Tuesday, then the House on Wednesday, getting President Joe Biden's signature Thursday, and a few hours later, there was a memo from the Office of Personnel Management allowing most federal employees to take Friday, June 18 off in recognition of the holiday.
It was so quick, that some federal agencies and entities were not able to adjust hours or schedules without major disruptions to service.
The United States Postal Service released a statement saying they will be "operating on June 18 and 19, 2021, on a normal schedule, serving our customers to the best of our ability."
“The U.S. Postal Service is fully supportive of the new Juneteenth National Independence Day Act and making June 19 a federal holiday," the statement reads.
"We are part of the nation’s critical infrastructure and our customers are relying on us to deliver our essential services. Closing down our operations without providing appropriate time would lead to operational disruptions and be a disservice to our customers and those who rely upon us."
Juneteenth, June 19, became the 12th federal holiday when Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act. The last federal holiday added was Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 1983.
The District of Columbia and 49 states already have state-level holiday recognition for the day. However, not all states give workers the day off.
Juneteenth is observed on June 19 every year. It commemorates the end of slavery in the U.S. and is also known as Emancipation Day, Jubilee Day, and Juneteenth Independence Day.
The holiday dates back to June 19, 1865, when Major General Gordon Granger issued General Order No. 3 in Galveston. The order let the slaves of Texas know they were free, in accordance with the Emancipation Proclamation, which was signed two years prior.