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June 19, 2024

King Commemorates Juneteenth Holiday to Mark End of Slavery in America

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, U.S. Senator Angus King released the following statement marking Juneteenth, a day also known as “Emancipation Day,” which commemorates the end of slavery in the United States:

“For more than 150 years, Juneteenth has reflected the contradiction inherent in America’s identity – it is both a celebration of the freedom that defines our national character, and a reminder that we are only a few generations removed from the inhumane institution of slavery. But the path to freedom isn’t complete. It wasn’t complete in 1865, and sadly, it’s not complete today.

“Today, I’m asking Maine people that we meet the promise of America, and that we live our principles. That we provide more than rhetoric. That we work together on actions and policies to make our society more inclusive, more welcoming, and more just. It is fitting that this day be recognized as a national holiday, providing all Americans with the opportunity to reflect upon how much progress we have made, and all the unfinished work ahead of us. If we are to truly craft a more perfect union, we must mark today’s holiday as a step in the path towards that better future.”

On June 19, 1865, in Galveston, Texas, Major General Gordon Granger issued General Order No. 3, which announced that, in accordance with the Emancipation Proclamation, “all slaves are free.”  Juneteenth is celebrated by states and municipalities as an official holiday or day of observance, including in Maine.

The Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, signed into law in 2021, was introduced by Senators Edward J. Markey (D-MA), John Cornyn (R-TX), Tina Smith (D-MN), and Cory Booker (D-NJ) and co-sponsored by 60 Senators, including Senator King.


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