U.S. Senator Roger Wicker has announced the passage of his resolution designating today, June 19, 2018, as “Juneteenth Independence Day,” observing the date slavery effectively came to an end in the United States in 1865. In a news release, Senator Wicker noted how important it is to commemorate this important date in U.S. history.
“Juneteenth is a landmark occasion in our nation’s history – when the remaining slaves in this country were emancipated,” Wicker said. “It is a day to remember our nation’s past and a day to commemorate the work that has been done over the past 150 years toward ensuring freedom, equality, and justice for every American. I am proud to have introduced this resolution in the Senate, working with my colleagues to give this holiday the national recognition it deserves.”
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., was the lead Democrat cosponsor of the resolution, which can be read in full below:
“Resolution 547: Designating June 19, 2018, as ‘‘Juneteenth Independence Day’’ in recognition of June 19, 1865, the date on which slavery legally came to an end in the United States.
Whereas news of the end of slavery did not reach the frontier areas of the United States, in particular the State of Texas and the other Southwestern States, until months after the conclusion of the Civil War, more than 21⁄2 years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863;
Whereas, on June 19, 1865, Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, arrived in
Galveston, Texas, with news that the Civil War had ended and that the enslaved were free;
Whereas African-Americans who had been slaves in the Southwest celebrated June 19, commonly known as ‘‘Juneteenth Independence Day’’, as inspiration and encouragement for future generations;
Whereas African-Americans from the Southwest have continued the tradition of observing Juneteenth Independence Day for over 150 years;
Whereas 45 States and the District of Columbia have designated
Juneteenth Independence Day as a special day of observance in recognition of the emancipation of all slaves in the United States;
Whereas Juneteenth Independence Day celebrations have been held to honor African-American freedom while encouraging self-development and respect for all cultures;
Whereas the faith and strength of character demonstrated by former slaves and the descendants of former slaves remain an example for all people of the United States, regardless of background, religion, or race;
Whereas slavery was not officially abolished until the ratification of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States in December 1865; and
Whereas, over the course of its history, the United States has grown into a symbol of democracy and freedom around the world: Now, therefore, be it”