U.S. Senators Thad Cochran, R-Miss., and Roger Wicker, R-Miss., today honored the end of slavery by cosponsoring a resolution to designate June 19, 2016, as “Juneteenth Independence Day.” The Senate unanimously approved the measure, S.Res. 500, authored by Senator John Cornyn, R-Texas.
The resolution designates this year’s “Juneteenth Independence Day” in recognition of June 19, 1865. This date commemorates three significant developments: when slavery came to an end in the United States; when the end of the Civil War was finally announced in Galveston, Texas; and when the full force of the Emancipation Proclamation, issued Jan. 1, 1863, was felt throughout the nation.
“Juneteenth recognizes the past and the continued need to work toward a more just nation,” Cochran said. “It is good that the Senate is marking the importance of this historic event.”
“Juneteenth is a significant day in American history – one that should be commemorated every year,” Wicker said. “This day represents our continued work to provide equality and justice for all. It is fitting to honor this milestone of freedom, recognizing our nation’s progress.”
The resolution states that the U.S. Senate “recognizes that the observance of the end of slavery is part of the history and heritage of the United States,” and “supports the continued nationwide celebration of ‘Juneteenth Independence Day’ to provide an opportunity for the people of the United States to learn more about the past and to better understand the experiences that have shaped the United States.”
Today, Mississippi, 44 other states and the District of Columbia formally recognize Juneteenth. Celebrations commemorating this historic moment will take place across the country on June 19 “to honor African-American freedom while encouraging self-development and respect for all cultures,” as the measure states.
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