Houston Chronicle
Juneteenth moving from Texas stage to national spotlight


Kay Bailey Hutchnson
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-Texas)
Sponsor of 2012 legislation in the U.S. Senate to make
Juneteenth Independence Day a National Day of Observance,
like Flag Day or Patriot Day


Houston Chronicle
By Robert Stanton     June 15, 2012



As Galveston County residents gear up to celebrate Juneteenth with live music, historic tours and a parade, a U.S. senator plans to introduce legislation to make the occasion a national holiday.

U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, will present a joint resolution next week that would designate June 19 as Juneteenth Independence Day, said Tom Flanagin, her press secretary.

"By observing this day, our nation will honor the role that Juneteenth has played in African-American culture in Texas and throughout the country, and it will remind us that in America, we are all blessed to live in freedom," Hutchison stated in a prepared statement.

Already, 41 U.S. states recognize Juneteenth as a state holiday, and Maryland currently has legislation pending that could make it the 42nd state, Ronald V. Myers Sr., founder and chairman of the National Juneteenth Holiday Campaign.

"We're looking for this being the year for Juneteenth to be recognized as a national holiday observance in America, like Flag Day and Patriot Day," Myers said. "America needs healing from the legacy of enslavement."

Juneteenth commemorates the news on June 19, 1865, that slaves in Texas were free. The general order, read on the steps of Ashton Villa at 2328 Broadway in Galveston, came almost three years after Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on Sept. 22, 1862.

robert.stanton@chron.com twitter.com/bobby_stanton

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