BINGHAMTON (WBNG) -- For the first time in national history, Juneteenth is being observed as a federal holiday.
Anne Bailey is a professor of history at Binghamton University and said that the last year sparked a racial reckoning in the United States.
"What happened with George Floyd's death and those other incidents last summer, it's like we're the sleeping giant," she said.
An expert on African-American history, Bailey has dubbed this new era "The Age of Repair".
"We're beginning to look back so we can move forward in a more equitable and egalitarian way," Bailey said.
Rahkiya Brown said the signing of the bill is a major step in the right direction.
"It's just huge for African-Americans across the country. We want to be acknowledged the same way 4th of July is for the rest of Americans," she said.
But Brown added that the recognition of Juneteenth is not enough.
"A lot of people in the African-American community still feel like this is just a pat on the back whereas we still need bigger change," Brown said.