ORLANDO, Fla. - President Joe Biden signed a bill into law on Thursday that makes Juneteenth, or June 19, a new federal holiday commemorating the end of slavery.
"This is a day of profound weight and profound power, a day in which we remember the moral stain, the terrible toll that slavery took on the country and continues to take," Biden said.
Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas — two months after the Confederacy had surrendered. That was also about 2.5 years after the Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves in the Southern states.
It’s the first new federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was created in 1983.
Communities in Central Florida held Juneteenth celebrations over the weekend.
For example, the Hannibal Square neighborhood in WInter Park drew dozens of people in for music and festivities. The town's black leaders said that it was great that the holiday is getting the recognition that it deserves but they also want to see their community better represented in the city.
"I would like to see them move to single-member districts. We all know single-member districts allow for a Hannibal Square representative, or a Hannibal Square to run on the issues that plague this community," Barbara Chandler of the Hannibal Square Heritage Center told FOX 35.
This was Hannibal Square's sixth annual Juneteenth event.
There was also a big celebration at the Bronze Kingdom Museum of Orlando. Guests were able to purchase discounted tickets and view artwork from Africa. There was also authentic African food and collector items.
"If you come here we're hoping you take some bit of knowledge that you didn't have before, we're hoping you try something you didn't try before. African American people had rich and diverse culture," Rawlvan R. Bennet, the founder of the Bronze Kingdom Museum, said.
The museum will be open again on Sunday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Watch FOX 35 Orlando for the latest Central Florida news.