“Today is Juneteenth, a special celebration of the fact that our country strives each and every day to make good on its promise to protect the inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all men and all women who are created equal,” he tweeted.
The tweet emphasizes the freedoms listed in the Declaration of Independence — the same freedoms Americans fought for during the Civil War — rather than the political differences the country is currently grappling with.
The Juneteenth bill passed the Senate unanimously and saw opposition from 14 House Republican lawmakers when it came for a vote Wednesday evening.
The holiday, which falls on June 19 every year, is already a state-designated holiday in Texas.
Juneteenth is the anniversary of when Union Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger, two years after the Emancipation Proclamation, arrived in Galveston, Texas, to declare that the Civil War was over and that slaves must be freed.
Slavery ended in other Southern states before that, but because of the distance between Texas and the Union Army’s power center around Washington, D.C., and the Northeast, there were not enough Union soldiers to immediately enforce Lincoln’s order in the state.
Texas first made Juneteenth an official holiday in 1980, and most states eventually followed with at least some form of Juneteenth observance.
Fox News’ Tyler Olson and Morgan Phillips contributed to this report.