25 June 2021 | Democrat U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, of Houston (an Adventist), was one of the key proponents of making Juneteenth a federal holiday.
The bill, signed into law by President Joe Biden on June 17, 2021, was led by Jackson Lee and Republican U.S. Sen. John Cornyn.
Juneteenth commemorates the emancipation of African American slaves and is often observed for celebrating African American culture.
The day has been celebrated annually on June 19th in different parts of the United States since 1865.
Juneteenth marks the anniversary of the June 19, 1865, announcement by Union Army general Gordon Granger, proclaiming freedom for slaves in Texas, the last state of the Confederacy to have institutional slavery.
Lee was first elected to Congress in 1995. She was a liberal Democrat who had served on the Houston City Council since 1989 and as a municipal judge prior to that. She grew up in New York City, completed a law degree at the University of Virginia, and moved to Texas with her husband, Dr. Elwyn C. Lee. She continues to be a very active member of the Black Caucus in the House of Representatives.