The march from an unofficial holiday to a formal day off for most federal employees began in Texas, more than a century after Union General Gordon Granger issued an 1865 order freeing the remaining 250,000 blacks who were still enslaved. in the state, two years. after the Emancipation Proclamation.
It took Texas until 1979 to formally recognize the holiday, after legislators approved a measure introduced by State Representative Al Edwards (D), a veteran civil rights activist who marched with Martin Luther King Jr. Edwards introduced the bill in the first of his campaigns. thirteen terms. …
Every president since the Clinton administration has taken the opportunity to make statements or comments in honor of the holiday. And for the past twelve years, Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), who represents the same area of Houston that Edwards represented in the Texas legislature, has introduced a measure in Congress to make the nation’s day [12th] Official vacation.
Other states slowly followed Texas’ lead: Florida adopted a holiday on June 19 in 1991, Oklahoma in 1994, and Minnesota in 1996. Thirty-one states adopted the holiday between 2000 and 2009, and another 13 did so in the following decade.