Juneteenth Leaders Encouraged By Gov. Palin's Acknowledgement of African American Contributions to Alcan Highway
Pastor Jack Gaines Delivers Message of Biblical Reconciliation at Alaska Juneteenth Conference
(Anchorage, Alaska) - The 2nd Annual Alaska Juneteenth Conference
concluded this week with Gov. Sarah Palin speaking passionately about the contributions of African Americans to Alaska. The mention of her sincere appreciation for the African American army engineers who built the Alcan highway during World War II, leading to the defeat of the invading Japanese army, was very well received by local and national Juneteenth
leaders in attendence. Acting Anchorage Mayor, Matt Claman, also spoke about the significance of Juneteenth
in Alaska during the presentation of the book, "Juneteenth, A Celebration of Freedom"
, by Dr. Charles Taylor to the J. Loussac Public Library
. The conference was organized by Gwen Alexander of the African American Historical Society of Alaska (AAHSA)
"Gov. Palin’s gracious words concerning the celebration of Juneteenth and the significant contribution of African Americans to Alaska were very encouraging,"
states Rev. Ronald V. Myers, Sr., M.D., Founder & Chairman
of the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation (NJOF)
and the National Juneteenth Holiday Campaign
. "We look forward to her support for the establishment of an Alaska Juneteenth Commission and to place a copy of the Juneteenth book in all the public libraries and public school libraries in Alaska."
, or the "19th of June"
, recognizes June 19, 1865, in Galveston, TX, when Union General Gordon Granger announced freedom for all slaves in the Southwest. This was the last major vestige of slavery in the United States following the end of the Civil War. This occurred more than two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation
was issued by President Abraham Lincoln. Upon the reading of General Order #3
by General Granger, the former slaves celebrated jubilantly, establishing America's second Independence Day Celebration and the oldest African-American holiday observance.
is now recognized as a state holiday or state holiday observance in Texas, Oklahoma, Florida, Delaware, Idaho, Alaska, Iowa, California, Wyoming, Missouri, Connecticut, Illinois, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York, Colorado, Arkansas, Oregon, Kentucky, Michigan, New Mexico, Virginia, Washington, Tennessee, Massachusetts, North Carolina, West Virginia, South Carolina and Vermont. In 2003, the District of Columbia passed legislation to recognize Juneteenth
as a district holiday observance. Many more states, including Utah, Alabama, South Dakota, Pennsylvania, Montana, Wisconsin and Maryland have recognized Juneteenth
through state legislative resolutions, Gubernatorial Proclamations and current state holiday observance legislation.
In 2001, legislation was passed to establish Juneteenth
as a state holiday observance by the Alaska state legislature and signed into law by former Governor Tony Knowles. The legislation, made possible through the efforts of NJOF
board member and former Director
of the Anchorage Juneteenth Celebration
, Dino Allen, required the governor to issue an annual Juneteenth Proclamation
. In 2007, during her first year in office, Governor Palin inadvertently did not issue a proclamation which lead to public criticism and a lawsuit. Dr. Myers was hopeful that his trip to Alaska and meeting with Gov. Palin would lead to a resolution of the situation and bring all Alaskans together to join in the celebration of Juneteenth
"We appreciate Gov. Palin’s participation in our Alaska Juneteenth Conference
," states Bishop Dave Thomas
, Chairman of the NJOF Armed Services Commission
of the Juneteenth Alaska Alcan Highway Celebration
. “It has been an important step toward improving relationships with Juneteenth
leaders in Alaska. Let's all work together to celebrate Juneteenth
and the great acheivement of the building of the Alcan highway by African American Army engineers during World War II."
During the Alaska Juneteenth Reconciliation and Healing Worship Service
at Jesus Holy Temple
, where Bishop Thomas serves as pastor, guest minister Pastor Jack Gaines
delivered a message of hope and forgiveness. Pastor Gaines will be the keynote speaker at the National Juneteenth Prayer Breakfast
at the WASHINGTON JUNETEENTH National Holiday Observance on the "19th of June"
, Junetenth Independence Day
, at the nation's capitol. The "18th of June"
has been set aside for the National Day of Reconciliation and Healing from the Legacy of Enslavement
which includes the National Juneteenth Black Holocaust "Maafa" Memorial Service
"We as African Americans have the opportunity to extend forgiveness for what happened to us during slavery and turn our failure as a nation into opportunity for growth,"
states Pastor Jack Gaines
, Director of Reconciliation Ministry
for the National Juneteenth Christian Leadership Council (NJCLC)
and author of the recently released book on Biblical Reconciliation "My Brothers Keeper Not My Brothers Killer"
. "This places us in the unique position to be the model of reconciliation to the world."
NEWS STORY - Judge denies motion in
Juneteenth lawsuit against Palin
by The Associated Press
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- A federal judge has denied a motion to reconsider his dismissal of a lawsuit alleging that former Gov. Sarah Palin violated the plaintiffs' constitutional rights by failing to issue a proclamation in 2007 for a celebration commemorating the freeing of U.S. slaves.
U.S. District Judge Timothy Burgess issued the ruling this week.
Plaintiffs Gregory Charles Royal of Washington, D.C., and Eagle River resident Kim Chatman filed their motion in January, saying they had just learned the Juneteenth
proclamation was issued -- as required by state law -- retroactively just before Palin's resignation last July.
Chatman filed an ethics complaint last year that alleged Palin misused the governor's office for personal gain by securing unwarranted benefits and receiving improper gifts through a legal defense fund. The case has not been publicly resolved.