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Engel Cosponsors Juneteenth Independence Day Resolution

Engel Cosponsors Juneteenth Independence Day Resolution

Washington D.C.- Congressman Eliot Engel, a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, has cosponsored a House Resolution recognizing June 19, 2016 as this year’s observance of the historical significance of Juneteenth Independence Day.

On June 19, 1865, General Gordon Granger rode into Galveston, Texas and announced the freedom of the last American slaves; belatedly freeing 250,000 slaves in Texas nearly two and a half years after Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.

Juneteenth was first celebrated in the Texas state capital in 1867 under the direction of the Freedmen’s Bureau. Today, Juneteenth remains the oldest known celebration of slavery’s demise.

“Each year we mark the Juneteenth Independence Day in the House with a Resolution that commemorates freedom while acknowledging the sacrifices and contributions made by courageous African Americans,” Congressman Engel said. “On June 19, 1865 we closed the book on perhaps the darkest chapter in our nation’s history. We have come a long way in the time since then, but the fight for civil rights and true equality for all citizens continues to this day, especially as it pertains to voting rights. Some states have gone out of their way to disenfranchise the African American community with new laws that make voting an arduous, if not impossible process. This constant struggle for many in the African American community illustrates why it is important for us to always mark and honor June 19th as the Juneteenth Independence Day.”