WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) issued the following statement recognizing Friday, June 19, 2015 as Juneteenth. This year, Juneteenth commemorates the 150th anniversary of the date on which slavery legally came to an end in the United States. Senator Cardin is a cosponsor of S.Res. 201, which was approved unanimously by the Senate and recognizes the significance of this sesquicentennial.
“150 years ago today, from a balcony in Galveston, Texas, Major General Gordon Granger announced the final emancipation of African Americans held in slavery. His announcement came two-and-a-half years after President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which officially freed the last remaining slaves in the United States.
“On this 150th Anniversary of Juneteenth, we gather to observe the end of a painful era in our history. We remember and celebrate the awesome sacrifices that so many Americans made to help bring about the end of slavery. S.Res. 201 specifically recognizes the efforts of the great Frederick Douglas. Douglass was born in the State of Maryland in 1818, escaped from slavery and became a leading writer, orator, publisher, and one of the most influential advocates in the United States for abolitionism and the equality of all people. The tremendous bravery and dedication to the most American of ideals of freedom, equality and justice that Douglas and countless others who fought for generations to end slavery still inspire us today.
“Juneteenth should serve as an annual reminder that in the United States, freedom has never been free, nor has it ever come easily. There are still major wrongs to be corrected across the United States. In big cities, and small towns, there is still work to be done to ensure that all Americans can achieve their full potential. On the 150th observance of Juneteenth, let us use the lessons we have learned in our past to ensure a bright future for all.”