Posted on April 15, 2021

Washington and Oregon Pass Bills to Make Juneteenth a Legal State Holiday

Jason Duaine Hahn, People, April 12, 2021

This month, Washington and Oregon both passed legislation to make Juneteenth — a day that commemorates the freeing of enslaved people in Texas in 1865 — official state holidays.

According to the Associated Press, Washington officials passed a measure to make Juneteenth a paid state holiday with a bipartisan 47-1 vote on Friday. {snip}

“Today, we can take an actual step toward reconciliation,” Sen. T’wina Nobles said after the vote, according to The Spokesman-Review.

According to, Union soldiers led by Major General Gordon Granger arrived at Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865, and informed enslaved people there they were free. {snip}


Oregon officials unanimously passed a bill to make Juneteenth a legal state holiday this month, according to KOPB.

South Dakota and Hawaii are the only other states that don’t have an official observance of Juneteenth, the AP reported.

While this is an important day for many Black Americans, this is not a separate history, this is our history,” House Majority Leader Rep. Barbara Smith Warner said on Thursday of Oregon’s vote. “This is American history.”