Daniel Reilly, 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement recognizing today as Juneteenth, the oldest, nationally-celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States:
“On June 19, 1865, when U.S. Army Major Gordon Granger read the Emancipation Proclamation to the people of Galveston, Texas, the words fell upon the ears of the despairing and enslaved but settled in the hopeful hearts of free men and women. On that day, a new page was turned in our history, as the last of America’s slaves learned of their emancipation, and the new birth of freedom – of which Abraham Lincoln had spoken – began to stir the dreams of millions eager to take their lives into their own hands.
“Juneteenth is marked each year on June 19 by the African American community, and I join today in celebrating this anniversary of liberation and in reflecting on the long struggle throughout our history for equality and opportunity for all Americans. Let us mark this day by remembering the heroism of those who risked their lives for the abolition of slavery and made Juneteenth possible, including Marylanders like Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass, and let us reaffirm our commitment in our own day to the same values of human rights and human dignity that called them to action.”