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H.J.Res. 195 (104th): Recognizing the end of slavery in the United States, and the true day of independence for African-Americans.

The text of the bill below is as of Sep 27, 1996 (Received by the Senate).

HJ 195 RDS


2d Session

H. J. RES. 195


September 27, 1996



Recognizing the end of slavery in the United States, and the true day of independence for African-Americans.

Whereas ‘Juneteenth’ celebrations have been held informally for over 130 years to commemorate the strong survival instincts of African-Americans who were first brought to this country stacked in the bottoms of slave ships during

a month-long journey across the Atlantic Ocean known as the ‘Middle Passage’;

Whereas the Civil War was fueled by the economic and social divide caused by slavery;

Whereas on January 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, the enforcement thereof occurred only in those Confederate States under the control of the Union Army;

Whereas on January 31, 1863, Congress passed the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution abolishing slavery throughout the United States and its territories;

Whereas on April 9, 1865, when General Robert E. Lee surrendered on behalf of the Confederate States at Appomattox, the Civil War was nonetheless prolonged in the Southwest;

Whereas news of the Emancipation Proclamation reached each State at different times;

Whereas the Emancipation Proclamation was not enforced in the Southwest until June 19, 1865, when Union General Gordon Granger landed at Galveston, Texas, to present and read General Order No. 3;

Whereas former slaves in the Southwest began celebrating the end of slavery and recognized ‘Juneteenth Independence Day’; and

Whereas ‘Juneteenth’ allows us to look back on the past with an increased appreciation for the strength of the men, women, and children who for generations endured unspeakable cruelties in bondage: Now, therefore, be it

    Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the end of slavery in the United States should be celebrated and recognized.

Passed the House of Representatives September 26, 1996.