Pelosi Statement in Recognition of Juneteenth

June 19, 2009
Press Release

Washington, D.C. -- Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued the following statement today in recognition of Juneteenth:

“On June 19, 1865, the last slaves of African descent were freed when Union Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas - shortly after the end of the Civil War - to enforce President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, an executive order issued two year prior on January 1, 1863.

“Since that fateful day more than two centuries ago, many African Americans across our nation recognize June 19th as an historic turning point in our nation's history. Over the last few decades, this celebration of freedom has even spread to South America, Europe, Asia and Africa.

“Today, as we reflect on the historic actions of 1863, let us resolve to fortify our efforts to end all modern-day slavery, discrimination, and exploitation so that all citizens of the world can live equally - with dignity and respect.”