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President Joe Biden holds the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act after signing it in the East Room of the White House. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) President Joe Biden holds the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act after signing it in the East Room of the White House. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Joe Biden holds the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act after signing it in the East Room of the White House. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Tom Kertscher
By Tom Kertscher June 21, 2021

Claim that the ‘left finally gives’ Juneteenth holiday ignores history, bipartisanship

If Your Time is short

  • Democratic-led legislation to make Juneteenth a federal holiday was introduced in 2020, when Republicans controlled the White House and the Senate. It didn’t get a vote in Congress.

  • The 2021 legislation that created the holiday, with a Democrat in the White House and Democrats controlling both chambers of Congress, received overwhelmingly bipartisan support.

On the day Juneteenth became a federal holiday, two pro-Donald Trump Black activists known as Diamond and Silk, who have 2.3 million Facebook followers, made this statement:

"After all of the atrocities done to black people by the left, the left finally gives black people a holiday. Please Note: It was a Republican who freed the slaves, not a Democrat!"

The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

The claim by the pair, whose names are Lynnette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson, alludes to Juneteenth, the day that marks June 19, 1865, when Union troops landed in Galveston, Texas, and announced the end of slavery. 

It did take many years before Juneteenth was made a holiday. But, leaving aside the "atrocities" rhetoric, and the fact that the public holiday isn’t only for Black people, their post ignores two points.

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Change to Democratic control

The claim is that the Democrats "finally" created Juneteenth when the party only recently gained control of the presidency and Congress. 

Before January 2021 — when Joe Biden was inaugurated as president and two special-election wins in Georgia gave Democrats effective control of the Senate — Democrats hadn’t had control of the House, Senate and White House for a decade

In June 2020, with GOP President Donald Trump in the White House and Republicans controlling the Senate 53-47, Democrats introduced the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act in the House and Senate. The measures didn’t get a vote in either chamber. 

Successful bill had bipartisan support

The Democratic-led legislation that created the holiday, introduced in February 2021, received overwhelmingly bipartisan support.

On June 15, the Senate — now split 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans, with Democratic Vice President Kamala Harris able to break tie votes — unanimously approved June 19 as a new federal holiday. The next day, the House passed the bill, 415-14, with all Democrats and 195 Republicans voting yes. Biden, a Democrat, signed it June 17.

The post is partially accurate, but takes things out of context. We rate it Half True.

Our Sources

Facebook post, June 17, 2021

PolitiFact, "Juneteenth’s 156-year path to becoming a federal holiday: Here’s the history," June 17, 2021

Congress.gov, "Roll Call 170 Bill Number: S. 475," June 16, 2021

Congress.gov, "S.475 - Juneteenth National Independence Day Act," accessed June 19, 2021

Congress.gov, "H.R.7232 - Juneteenth National Independence Day Act," accessed June 19, 2021

Congress.gov, "S.4019 - Juneteenth National Independence Day Act," accessed June 19, 2021

Sen. Ed Markey, news release, Feb. 25, 2021

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Claim that the ‘left finally gives’ Juneteenth holiday ignores history, bipartisanship

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