Common Core State Standard
SL.CCS.1/2/3/4 Grades 6-12: An essay of a current news event is provided for discussion to encourage participation, but also inspire the use of evidence to support logical claims using the main ideas of the article. Students must analyze background information provided about a current event within the news, draw out the main ideas and key details, and review different opinions on the issue. Then, students should present their own claims using facts and analysis for support.

FOR THE WEEK OF JUNE 21, 2021

Juneteenth, a new national holiday, marks slavery's end after the Civil War

frontpageactionpoints.gif
1.gif
Share a local reaction or commentary quote on this topic.
2.gif
Find coverage of a Juneteenth event last weekend. Describe it.
3.gif
Summarize another congressional issue or action in the news.

A new federal holiday was marked Friday with a day off for government workers. Congress voted last week to commemorate June 19, known as Juneteenth, as the day U.S. slavery ended in 1865. Many states have recognized Juneteenth for decades, but only some observe it as an official holiday. President Biden on Thursday signed legislation passed unanimously by senators and by 415-14 in the House, creating the 11th holiday recognized by the federal government as a paid day off for its workers. "his will go down for me as one of the greatest honors I will have as president," the president said at the White House.

The day also is called Emancipation Day, Jubilee Day and Juneteenth Independence Day. Its name comes from the June date when Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger of the Union Army issued an order in Galveston, Texas, announcing that "all slaves are free" in accordance with the Emancipation Proclamation two years earlier from President Abraham Lincoln. Texas was the last Southern state taking that step after the April 1865 surrender of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. The 13th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified near the end of 1865, abolishing slavery in three non-Confederate states not covered by Lincoln’s order during the Civil War.

The push for designation as a national holiday had been building for years. It's already celebrated symbolically in 47 states and the District of Columbia. Amid protests against police brutality last year, dozens of companies (including the National Football League) let employees take Juneteenth off with pay, and the push for federal recognition gained momentum.

Vice president says: "We have come far and we have far to go, but today is a day of celebration. ... We are gathered here in a house built by enslaved people." – Kamala Harris at White House signing ceremony Thursday

Galveston celebrates: The Texas city on Saturday had a three-hour parade and picnic. It also dedicated a large mural, "Absolute Equality," where Gen. Granger announced freedom for enslaved African Americans.

Scholar says: "Juneteenth, in both its historical origins and contemporary resurgence, brings us closer to some uncomfortable truths about American identity." – Peniel E. Joseph, University of Texas public affairs professor

Front Page Talking Points is written by Alan Stamm for NIEonline.com, Copyright 2021

Front Page Talking Points Archive

It’s time for a yearly flu shot, now even more important than before the Covid pandemic

House committee seeks federal records and phone data as Jan. 6 Capitol takeover inquiry presses ahead

20th anniversary of a day that changed the world – Sept. 11, 2001 – is observed this week

Picking a new host gets messy for 'Jeopardy!,' a popular TV game show

Taliban takeover in Afghanistan puts social, educational gains by women and girls at risk

Official 2020 Census numbers will revise U.S. House district maps – a high-impact change

Covid shadows the school year again as students return to classrooms – with masks, experts urge

Gymnast Simone Biles' pullout at Olympics earns wide admiration and support

Private flights by executives Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson signal 'the dawn of a new space age'

World’s top athletes will compete without fans in stands at Tokyo Olympics after a year of delay

Complete archive