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Virginia lawmakers vote to make Juneteenth a state holiday

Gov. Ralph Northam proposed making Juneteenth a state holiday in June during a press conference that included musician and Virginia Beach native Pharrell Williams.
Credit: AP

RICHMOND, Va. — Juneteenth has officially become a state holiday after lawmakers unanimously approved legislation during the Virginia General Assembly special session.

Juneteenth marks the day news of the Emancipation Proclamation reached Texas, which was the last state to abolish slavery. 

The companion bills were introduced by Sen. Mamie Locke, D-Hampton, and Del. Lamont Bagby, D-Richmond. Gov. Ralph Northam signed the legislation on Oct. 13. 

Northam proposed making Juneteenth a state holiday in June during a press conference that included musician and Virginia Beach native Pharrell Williams.

Northam signed an executive order that gave executive branch employees and state colleges the day off.