Even though many slaves were not given their freedom on June 19th, 1865, it is a date that is forever embedded in the hearts of millions of African Americans, even if full equality wasn’t achieved. Over 2 years after 16th President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, Major Gordon Granger issued the order informing America that all slaves were to be freed, which resulted in approximately 250,000 slaves in Texas being given the freedom they had never experienced before. Following Juneteenth, many individuals who supported Jim Crow would whitewash the brutal treatment that African Americans continued to face. But Juneteenth was a monumental step forward. In fact, LD 1’s Cape May played a unique role in the freeing of slaves. Harriet Tubman traveled from Maryland to Cape May to work in hotels, resulting in her successfully freeing 9 people from slavery. Juneteenth is a reminder of how much progress we have made and how we can and should do better every day.
(contributed by Evan F. Grollman)
President Biden signed legislation on Thursday to make Juneteenth a federal holiday, enshrining June 19 as the national day to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States.
“All Americans can feel the power of this day, and learn from our history,” Mr. Biden said at a ceremony at the White House, noting that it was the first national holiday established since Martin Luther King’s Birthday in 1983.
He said signing the law was one of the greatest honors he will have as president.