Juneteenth, or June 19th, marks the day that a Union Army general rode into Galveston, Texas, after the defeat of the Confederacy in 1965 bringing news of the Emancipation Proclamation and the end of chattel slavery.
Democratic Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts said it was past time for Americans to celebrate the final emancipation of African slaves and take the opportunity to learn from the past.
"Juneteenth is the holiday that fills that gap in our history," he said. "Juneteenth is a reminder that none of us are free, unless we are all free."
Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn said he hoped the U.S. House of Representatives would quickly approve the measure and send it to President Joe Biden to be signed into law.
"There's nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come," Cornyn said. "And it seems to me that this is the most propitious time for us to recognize our history."