Monday, June 19, 2023

Celebrating Juneteenth Independence Day

Today the House Republican Caucus joins with Americans everywhere to celebrate Juneteenth Independence Day. The holiday’s origins can be traced to June 19, 1865 when Union Army Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas to announce that the Civil War was over and America’s last remaining slaves were free, thanks to President Lincoln’s issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation more than two years earlier, on January 1, 1863.

Massachusetts’ governors have commemorated June 19 as Juneteenth Independence Day since 2007 with an annual proclamation recognizing “the significant contributions individuals of African descent have made to the Commonwealth and to the United States.” In July of 2020, the Massachusetts Legislature passed and former Governor Charlie Baker signed into law language in a supplemental budget declaring Juneteenth an official state holiday, which Baker noted would help “to recognize the continued need to ensure racial freedom and equality.” In June of 2021, President Joe Biden signed legislation making Juneteenth Independence Day a national holiday.