Chairman's Statement Regarding
JUNETEENTH INDEPENDENCE DAY
January 24, 2013
Rev. Ronald V. Myers, Sr., M.D., Founder & Chairman
National Juneteenth Holiday Campaign
National Juneteenth Observance Foundation (NJOF)
National Juneteenth Christian Leadership Council (NJCLC)
National Association of Juneteenth Jazz Presenters (NAJJP)
Sponsors of the annual
WASHINGTON JUNETEENTH National Holiday Observance
GALVESTON JUNETEENTH National Holiday Observance
Juneteenth is a celebration of freedom from enslavement in America. It is observed on the
"19th of June"
and commemorates the date, June 19, 1865, in Galveston, Texas, when Union General Gordon Granger issued
General Order #3 that "all slaves are free" through the
Emancipation Proclamation signed by President Abraham Lincoln. It took over two and a half years for the news of
freedom to be announced by General Granger in the American southwest, in Texas, the last southern state in rebellion to allow
slavery following the end of the Civil War.
Our ancestors, Americans of African descent, trapped in the tyranny of enslavement, celebrated when they learned about their
freedom. This created the oldest African American holiday that our people have celebrated for over 145 years.
The history of legislative action to abolish slavery in America began with the passage of the
Vermont State Constitution on July 8, 1777. The
first African American to earn a bachelorís degree from an
American college or university and the
first African American elected to a state legislature in U.S. history also
came from Vermont.
Abraham Lincoln issued an Executive Order to abolish slavery in the District of Columbia on April 16, 1862.
Emancipation Day, the date is celebrated as a holiday in the District of Columbia.
On September 22, 1862, Abraham Lincoln signed the
Emancipation Proclamation. This Executive Order freeing our ancestors would go into effect on
January 1, 1863, if the southern states remained in rebellion.
The news of freedom spread to different states at different times. Florida's
Emancipation Day is May 23rd.
Emancipation Day is May 8th. Other dates for
Emancipation Day are numerous throughout the
Following the issuing of the
Emancipation Proclamation, the last southern state in rebellion, following the end of the
Civil War, to enslave our people was Texas. On the
"19th of June", 1865, Juneteenth, our
ancestors in Galveston, TX learned of their freedom and celebrated.
Slavery did not end throughout America until the
13th Amendment was adopted on December 18, 1865, known as
U.S. Emancipation Day.
As the leader of the
"Modern Juneteenth Movement" in America, I have always encouraged the celebration of
Emancipation Day in communities across the country. People are free to celebrate the end of enslavement on
whatever date or dates they choose.
Those of us who are part of the
"Modern Juneteenth Movement" in America have chosen to honor our ancestors, Americans of African descent,
who heard the announcement of freedom and celebrated, by joining them on Galveston's
Emancipation Day, the
"19th of June",
Juneteenth Independence Day.
Juneteenth is recognized as a state holiday or state holiday observance in
41 states, the District of Columbia and the
U.S. Congress as
Juneteenth Independence Day.
President Barack Obama has issued a
statement recognizing Juneteenth every year he has been in the oval office. Before becoming
the first African American U.S. President, Senator Obama supported Juneteenth legislation as a state senator
and U.S. Senator from Illinois.
We continue to urge legislation for
Juneteenth Independence Day to become a
National Day of Observance, like Flag Day or Patriot Day.
We encourage everyone to support our efforts.