WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) today co-sponsored a joint resolution designating June 19th as Juneteenth Independence Day, a National Day of Observance. On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas with news that the Civil War had ended and that all slaves were free.
While Abraham Lincoln declared slaves in Confederate states free with the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, slaves who lived in states that will still in rebellion were not free. June 19, 1865 marks the date that Union soldiers enforced the Emancipation Proclamation in Texas. Freed slaves rejoiced with jubilant celebrations that quickly spread through Texas and the rest of the United States
“It is only fitting that we introduce this resolution on the 147th anniversary of Juneteenth, the oldest national celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. Juneteenth closed the door on this painful chapter of our nation’s history, but while we celebrate this date, we cannot allow ourselves to forget what happened,” said Senator Cardin. “We owe it to those who endured the brutal institution of slavery — including 100,000 people in Maryland — and to those who dedicated their lives to ending slavery.”
Today, Americans across the United States continue the tradition of celebrating Juneteenth Independence Day inspiration and encouragement for future generations. By observing this day, our nation will honor the role that Juneteenth has played in African-American culture throughout the country, and it will remind us that, in America, we are all blessed to live in freedom.
U.S. law provides for the declaration of selected public observances by the President of the United States as designated by Congress or by the discretion of the President. In addition to Senator Cardin, the following Senators have cosponsored the joint resolution: Senators Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), Carl Levin (D-MI), John Cornyn (R-TX), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Mark Begich (D-AK), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Mark Warner (D-VA), Jim Webb (D-VA), Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Daniel Akaka (D-HI)