Landrieu honors Juneteenth Independence Day

The following is a Press Release from The Office of U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu

U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., today honored Juneteenth Independence Day, which is celebrated on June 19 each year to recognize the day in 1865 when the enforcement of the abolition of slavery reached Texas, signifying that slavery had ended across the entire country. Also known as "Freedom Day" or "Emancipation Day," this day is celebrated as the anniversary of African-American freedom.

"Juneteenth serves as an important reminder of some of the darkest days in American history; today is also, however, an opportunity to recognize the progress we have made toward full equality, and celebrate the courage and triumph that has defined the African-American story. Today we reinforce our commitment to building a more just and promising society, in which a quality education, affordable health care and a good job are more than just dreams, but realities for all Americans," Sen. Landrieu said.

News of President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation took more than two years to reach some of the southwestern states. On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers led by Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, with the news that all slaves had been granted their freedom.

Sen. Landrieu is a longtime advocate of legislation and other measures on behalf of the African-American community. Earlier this year, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) gave Sen. Landrieu an 'A' rating in its Legislative Civil Rights Report Card for the first session of the 112th Congress. The Report Card evaluated 15 Senate votes concerning important civil rights initiatives.

In 2011, she co-sponsored a resolution commemorating Juneteenth Independence Day. She also commemorated the 101st Anniversary of the NAACP. In 2007, Sen. Landrieu co-sponsored the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act, which gives the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the FBI the ability to reopen unsolved Civil Rights-era murder cases and continues to support funding for the DOJ Civil Rights Division to aid in closing this important part of American history. Also in 2007, Sen. Landrieu and then Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., together introduced a bill to change the name of the main hall in the Capitol Visitors Center (CVC) from the "Great Hall," a name shared by the main hall of the Library of Congress, to "Emancipation Hall." The bill was subsequently signed into law.