PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — America is marking Juneteenth as a federal holiday for the first time ever. Juneteenth commemorates the end of slavery.
Philadelphia’s boathouse row is lit up in Juneteenth colors to mark the occasion.READ MORE: Realmuto, Segura Help Phillies Rally To 7-5 Win Vs. Nats
CBS3’s Jan Carabeo was live at City Hall Friday morning with more on the events planned for the holiday.
President Biden made American history on Thursday, designating Juneteenth as a new federal holiday. At a White House ceremony, he said the moment will go down as one of his greatest honors as President of the United States.
“The day on which we remember the moral stain, the terrible toll that slavery took on the country and continues to take, what I’ve long called America’s original sin,” Biden said.
Juneteenth marks June 19, 1865.
It’s the day union soldiers brought news of the civil war’s end and newfound freedom from slavery for Black people in Galveston, Texas.READ MORE: EXCLUSIVE: Casey Johnston's Parents Speaks Out After Missing Daughter's Body Found
The 94-year-old civil rights activist Opal Lee is known as the Grandmother of Juneteenth.
“I’m joyful, I’m humble,” Lee said. “I want to do a holy dance.”
Five years ago, Lee walked from Fort Worth, Texas to Washington, D.C. to urge Congress to act. On Thursday, she witnessed her work bring change.
Earlier this week, the City of Philadelphia ushered in the Juneteenth celebrations.
“We raise the black liberation flag,” Deputy Managing Director Jazelle Jones said. “It is a tricolor flag consisting of three equal horizontal bands from the top down. Red, black, and green.”
Juneteenth is a city holiday as well. And this year, the 52nd Street Festival in West Philadelphia makes a triumphant return after the pandemic canceled the event last year.MORE NEWS: New Jersey Requiring All Employees In 'Certain' Healthcare Facilities Get COVID-19 Vaccine Or Regular Testing By Early September
Saturday’s event includes a Freedom Day March, giveaways and art exhibits.