Congressman Engel Commemorates the 150th Anniversary of the 13th Amendment

Congressman Engel Commemorates the 150th Anniversary of the 13th Amendment

Washington, D.C. –Congressman Eliot L. Engel, a senior Member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, commemorated the abolition of slavery in America on the 150th anniversary of the 13th amendment and called for renewed commitment to equality through a full restoration of the Voting Rights Act.

“This nation made a momentous and defining decision 150 years ago when three-quarters of our states voted to constitutionally end slavery on American soil,” Congressman Engel said. “In doing so, Americans began setting right a great moral wrong and salvaged our foundational principles of equality, liberty and democracy for all from a past marked by injustice and exploitation.” 

“But the 13th Amendment did far more than that. It proved that Americans have the will to unite in support of changes that bring our nation ever closer to the ideals of its founding,” Engel said. “The abolition of slavery paved the way for the many more expansions of equality and inalienable rights that followed, including one of our strongest pieces of civil rights legislation, the Voting Rights Act of 1965.”

“Equality in voting rights is a pillar of the democracy Americans have worked hard and sacrificed to build since our nation’s founding,” Engel continued. “The recent weakening of the Voting Rights Act will erode our hard-won progress toward genuine equality for all Americans. On the 150th anniversary of the 13th Amendment, I call on my colleagues in Congress to honor that progress by taking up legislation that fully restores the Voting Rights Act.”

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 is a landmark piece of civil rights legislation that protects voting access in parts of the country where many minorities had historically been disenfranchised by discriminatory voting practices. It has been regularly reauthorized since 1965 with overwhelming bipartisan support, but key provisions within it were dismantled by a 2014 Supreme Court ruling.